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Ame Deal Died in Box: Punishment for Popsicle Theft

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on August 08, 2011 1:08 PM

A further investigation into the suffocation death of Ame Deal has led Phoenix police to arrest the girl's two cousins, aunt, and grandmother on suspicion of first-degree murder, child abuse, and kidnapping.

The group is accused of long-term abuse, which culminated in an incident last month that left the 10-year-old locked in a plastic storage container overnight.

She was confined after taking a popsicle from the home's freezer.

According to police, Deal's cousin Samantha and her husband John Allen confessed that they had locked the girl in the container, reports Reuters.

This was only after Ame was forced to perform exercises for over an hour.

Such confinement and abuse was apparently very common in the home, which housed at least 12 other children.

The family moved to Arizona after school officials notified child services about possible neglect, reports the Arizona Republic. They then began to homeschool the children, ostensibly to prevent further reports.

Neighbors also told the paper that they had considered calling the police, noticing nearly a dozen children, four adults, and a lot of odd behavior, including yelling.

However, they didn't want to break up the family.

While only a few states require all citizens to report potential child abuse, a lack of legal obligation should not stop you from doing so.

Child protective services cannot be everywhere at once, and relies on tips from ordinary people to help fight abuse and remove children from dangerous homes.

You can call anonymously and give as much or as little information as you like, helping shield you from any backlash.

So next time you think something odd is going on with a child you know, think about Ame Deal, and how, sometimes, all it takes is one phone call to save a child.

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