Like many other children, the 8-year-old child was a happy, curious and smart little girl. She loved school and enjoyed making new friends. As with many kids her age, she kept a diary. Only, the rows in her diary weren’t filled with love hearts and secret messages about boys she liked. Instead, the truth revealed in the pages of Gizzell’s diary is so horrible that it’s difficult to read. Gizzell was found dead in her grandmother’s dirty, pest-riddled apartment.
She had been beaten and strangled. On her wrists there were ligature marks where she had been bound, and on her back was a wound so infected there were maggots in it, according to reports. Just months prior to her death, Gizzell and two siblings had moved to live with her father Andre and grandma Helen. Andre had a serious condition that meant he required constant care and couldn’t look after himself. It was Helen who took care of the family, and from the outside it looked like any other home. The pages of Gizzy’s diary, however, attested otherwise.
Every day Gizzell was punished for behaving badly. She was forced to do squats, stand in uncomfortable positions and had a dirty sock pushed into her mouth if she did so much as make a noise. She was also physically beaten, tormented and often had to make do without food or water. On the occasions she dried to drink water from the toilet, she was beaten head to toe. Sometimes she was tied to her bed and not allowed to move freely for several days. And yet, despite the hell she experienced, Gizzy remained positive. In her diary, one could read that she knew she would be punished for ‘acting up’, but that she was hoping to develop into a smart and beautiful young woman.
She also wrote about how she dreamt of playing with her siblings and watching TV. Often, the diary was updated a few days later, when she would describe how she had been abused again. Sadly, by the end of Gizzell’s life, her diary entries had become little more than jagged scrawls. Deprived of nutrition, suffering constant abuse from her grandmother and growing weaker by the second, her decline was quick and definite. Just days before her death, she is said to have written: ““I hate this life because now I’m in super big trouble.” Gizzell’s father died of a heart attack injail while awaiting trial for his role in her death. Her grandma was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. We are republishing this story amid recent reports that child abuse has surged in the U.S. during the pandemic.