The doctor accused of ignoring bruises, indicating months of physical brutality, on Gizzell Ford‘s body before her 2013 fatal strangulation is finally facing trial Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Gizzell, an 8-year-old child, was found dead inside a filthy Chicago apartment after being beaten, tied to posts, forced to stand for hours and denied food and water by her paternal grandmother Helen Ford, who is serving a life sentence for the girl’s death. Dr. Norrell Rosado, a prominent child-abuse pediatrician who examined the girl weeks before she died, was part of a trail of trained professionals who grossly neglected to report telltale signs of abuse on the child’s body. Rosado, who may testify during the civil trial, failed to call Illinois’ child welfare hotline, Sandra and Juan Mercado, Gizzell’s mom and maternal grandfather, respectively, alleged in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Strangulation and blunt-force trauma were cited as causes of Gizzell’s tragic death on the autopsy document, according to the Chicago-Sun Times. Andre Ford, Gizzell’s father who was awarded custody of her eight months before she was killed, was also charged in the case.
An examination by Rosado of Gizzell was done in June 2013 as part of a molestation investigation, an injury report by the doctor submitted as part of court documents revealed. Linear marks on the child’s thighs and old healed loop-shaped bruises — a mark that can indicate being beaten by a looped cord — were discovered, according to Rosado’s report. Rosado failed to question Gizzell away from the grandmother about the marks and refused to challenge the grandmother’s lies about the wounds being self-inflicted, according to the Tribune, who investigated the case.
Rosado also didn’t inform the Department of Child and Family Services or the child’s family advocate, stumbling in providing a notification to authorities that would have sparked an abuse investigation that may have prevented the child’s death.
The doctor testified that the marks on Gizzell’s body were “nonspecific” and didn’t take any photos of the injuries, according to a 2015 deposition filed as part of the civil lawsuit cited by the Tribune. DCFS officials reportedly closed the case after determining that abuse allegations were without validity.
As of yet, Rosado, who said that he has never failed to call child welfare hotlines to the Tribune, has faced no discipline. Gizzell’s story, like that of Chicago teen Kenneka Jenkins, sheds light on the failed responsibility of trained authorities in preventing and investigating the horrible fates that befall missing or murdered Black children.