A 10-year-old girl found dead and stuffed in a garbage can in Atlanta, after being starved and beaten by her father and stepmother, had apparently tried to run away from home to escape the abuse.
Emani Moss’ burned body was found in a trashcan in unincorporated Lawrenceville on Saturday. She was covered in bruises and severely malnourished.
An autopsy report showed that Emani’s body had been burned after her death, in an apparent attempt to dispose of the body. At the time of her death, Emani was underweight, having been denied food for days before she died.
Her father, Eman Moss, and stepmother, Tiffany Moss, were arrested and charged with murder, concealing a body, and child cruelty, CBS reported.
Tiffany Moss had been arrested for child cruelty before.
In 2010, when Emani was six, she told a school nurse that she was afraid to go home because she had a bad report card and her parents had threatened violence. When the nurse examined her body she found welts and bruises.
Tiffany Moss was arrested and charged with child cruelty, although she claimed she only hit Emani a total of three times with a belt. She signed a plea deal with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services to serve five years probation for the beating.
Emani’s grandmother, Robin Moss, said she tried to get custody of Emani, who she believed was being abused, but state authorities wouldn’t grant it.
Her mother, Danita Leaks, said she had no idea her daughter was being abused. She told WAGA-TV that she fought for custody of Emani for nearly three years.
"If I would have known that him and his wife were abusing my baby, I would not have let her stay over there," said Danita Leaks.
Police reports showed Emani tried to run away from home in July 2012.