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Man charged with ‘encouraging’ abuse of daughter, 8, who later died

Andre Ford / phofrom Chicago Police

Andre Ford / photo from Chicago Police

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Updated: October 18, 2013 6:12AM



Two months after the grandmother of 8-year-old Gizzell Ford was charged with the little girl’s murder, Gizzell’s father appeared in court Monday — now also accused in the brutal killing.

A skeletal Andre Ford appeared in a wheelchair before Judge Laura Sullivan at the George Leighton Criminal Courthouse, where the 28-year-old man was ordered held without bail.

Helen Ford, Gizzell’s grandmother, also is being held without bond in the case. During the grandmother’s July bond hearing, prosecutors said Gizzell’s body was found in the apartment she shared with her son in the 5200 block of West Adams on July 12, after paramedics answered a call of a person not breathing there. Prosecutors said paramedics found Gizzell’s cold, dead body covered with cuts, scratches and bruises — both old and new — at her 51-year-old grandmother’s home.

On Monday, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Bridget O’Brien acknowledged that Andre Ford’s frail health — he suffers from a disease that involves the build-up of scar tissue on the skin — might not have allowed him to beat his daughter, but that he did nothing to stop the abuse.

“He most certainly had a duty to protect the victim and it is clear that he did nothing to stop the abuse,” O’Brien said. “Moreover, it has been well established by eye witnesses that Andre Ford was present while the victim was beaten by his mother, Helen Ford. Andre Ford even encouraged his mother to continue to beat the victim.”

Andre Ford watched as his daughter was denied food, water, sleep and use of the bathroom, O’Brien said.

“On one occasion, the victim urinated on herself, and Andre Ford ordered that she be held down and forced to suck up her urine,” O’Brien said.

Andre Ford later told investigators he was aware of his daughter’s injuries during the week before she died, but never called police — fearing he’d get the blame for the beatings, O’Brien said.

Ford’s attorney argued in court that her client is so sick that he can’t possibly receive adequate care at Cook County facilities. Sullivan said the staff at Cermak Hospital would be able to assess whether Ford needs care elsewhere.

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