Local Man Claims To Be Father Of Girl Killed In Arizona

BELLE VERNON (KDKA) – A little girl was killed and stuffed in a footlocker in Arizona last month.

Police said her tragic death came after a torturous and painful life. It’s a case that made national headlines and a local man has come forward claiming to be the girl’s father.

According to police, the child was forced to eat dog feces and perform strenuous exercises in extreme Arizona heat.

The child was allegedly murdered on July 12 after taking a popsicle from a freezer.

However, the girl spent the first few years of her life in Fayette County and a local man is claiming to be the girl’s biological father.

Kenneth Griest told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti that he was devastated and shocked when he found out the girl he raised in the Belle Vernon area was the victim of a brutal torture-murder in Phoenix.

“When I first heard about it, I was really stunned. It just shocked me that they could do something to a kid,” Griest said.

Police in Phoenix described the death as one of the worst cases of child abuse they had ever seen.

Ame Deal, 10, was found suffocated and stuffed in a small air-tight footlocker. She was allegedly placed there as punishment for taking a popsicle our of a refrigerator in the home she was living in.

She had been placed in the footlocker at least one other time as punishment for wetting the bed.

“First four years she was with me and her mother, Shirley. She was a great kid, you know. She got into a little bit of trouble like normal, but she’d get timeout or whatever. We would never do anything – she wanted a popsicle we would give it to her, take her to Dairy Queen. She had everything she needed. She had toys, she had clothes, she had a lot of friends,” Griest said.

All of Griest’s attempts to find his daughter in recent years failed because the child and her mother were constantly on the move.

“I tracked them all down. We were together up until a few years ago and well, we lost contact for a while there and then we started talking again. We tried hunting Ame down for years. Every time we got close to finding her, just like they disappeared off the face of the Earth. And then you find out they were living in Wisconsin, Utah, Texas, now you find out they’re in Arizona,” Griest said.

Griest also has the girl’s birth certificate, fingerprints and a locket of her hair that he kept.

Shirley Deal is currently living in Kansas and said her daughter was removed from her home by relatives, who are now accused in her death.

Two of the four people accused in the case are charged with first-degree murder and two others are charged with kidnapping and child abuse.

They are expected to appear in court next week.


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  • JOE

    these people don’t deserve to live, they must be a moster to do this to that little girl, never a had a chance and the mother should be held too!

  • Anonymous

    the mother is responsible for leaving the child with people she thought she trusted she is not bright enough to no danger, she has issues and the child was in good hands when her and kenneth were together,she was not absolutely not capable of taking care of this child or any of her children by herself……no mother or father should have to hear a bruttial crime of their blood relative or not…….i simplifie for both parents

  • Bad english

    I understand this is a horrible story and i am not commenting on that. I just wish the person that wrote the story could use spellcheck and have somebody edit it. Horrrrrrible grammmmer.

  • Cheryl B.

    Shame on you, KDKA. It’s hard to believe that you allowed this innocent girl’s murder to be exploited by these attention-grabbing indiuviduals who claim to be biologically related. They have absolutely no proof, and yet you still did AND led with the story. They care nothing of the Ame’s tortuous life and death. They just want to get some face time!

    • marilyn

      I agree with Cheryl B. Where were those parents when this poor child was being brutally beaten? The people are not parents. They are abusers. Right now they only want to be on t.v. Disguisting!! The mother didn’t know where her daughter was at? What kind of mother is this? The father couldn’t find his daughter, wherever she was,. If my son/daughter was missing I would never and I mean never stop looking for them. There is something really wrong with this story. Wrong and sad! This innocent girl died such a tragic life. My heart aches for her. People we are talking human beings here. Sad, so very sad. God Bless Her!

  • mom4

    The parents have been looking for this child for year and yes.some of there relatives look for her as well so I’m sure the mother ans father wasn’t looking for some TV time. And who are you people to judge anyone if you don’t know the whole story then don’t bad mouth another person. This lil girl was loved by Kennet her mother and by many others. GOD BLESS EVERYONE but plz don’t judge others everyone has a story behind them. O by the way the monsters that had this lil angel moved around alot from town to town and state to state

  • mariliyn

    Oh yeah, the mother was living in Kansas and said the daughter was removed from the home by some relatives. What is that? They didn’t leave an address? Did she ever check to see where her daughter was or did she assume that since the daughter wasn”t with her “all was well”. This little girl didn’t know love. What they showed her was not love! God Will Love her!

  • Angela

    This is a horrible tragedy, NO Child should substain that kind of abuse. Whether the parents looked for her is not the issue at hand. The issue is convicting these monsters whether family or not. Everybody walks in their own shoes and no one has no idea what their walk was. God Bless that child she is in a much better place. And ones who judge will be judged…..

  • nobody

    i live up the street from this man and that is ridiculos!!!!!!! who would do such a thing??? these people deserve to be torture for what they did!!!!!!

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