Family Awarded Nearly $50 Million Over 8-Year-Old Gizzell Ford Torture Killing

Chicago jurors were horrified in late 2017 by a torture death case in which an 8-year-old girl was consistently failed by her family, her medical doctor, and the child protection system. The Chicago Tribune reports the crime scene photos and injury reports shared with jurors during the five-day-long trial caused a halt in courtroom action as a juror sobbed uncontrollably.

In 2013, young Gizzell Ford was found strangled, brutally beaten and starved inside the Chicago apartment she shared with her father and paternal grandmother, Andre and Helen Ford. While her father died in 2014 while awaiting trial on related murder charges, her grandmother is now serving a life sentence for the torture killing, according to the Chicago Sun Times.

The wrongful death lawsuit culminated on Dec. 13, 2017 when the jury returned from a two-hour deliberation and awarded $48 million to the girl’s mother and family after finding well-known Chicago pediatrician Dr. Norell Rosado medically negligent in his treatment of the child in the weeks leading up to her 2013 murder. The pediatrician was tapped by the Department of Children and Family Services to evaluate the girl after an investigator received an abuse report initiated by Ford, who alleged molestation against the boyfriend of the girl’s mother.

“We just wanted justice for Gizzell, and in our eyes we got it,” said Sandra Mercado, the girl’s mother. “I just hope this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

During closing statements, Mercado’s attorney, Martin Dolan, said, “This child should never have gone through what she did. There are people in place who should’ve stopped this. Dr. Rosado failed to save her. He didn’t advocate for her. He didn’t protect her that day… It was like a green light for Helen Ford to do what she was going to do in the following weeks.”

The former honor student maintained a diary during her time with her father and grandmother. Just days before her death, she wrote of her own demise in the last entry: “I hate this life.”

Cook County’s insurance provider will likely pay out the nearly $50 million verdict, as Rosado was employed by the county’s hospital system at the time, according to the Chicago Tribune.