Father, stepmother of Emani Moss appear in court

8:15 PM, Nov 8, 2013   |    comments
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Eman and Tiffany Moss (Gwinnett Co. PD)

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- On Friday, testimony at the probable cause hearing for Eman and Tiffany Moss painted a picture of a father consumed by work, willing to look the other way as his wife, Emani's step mom, beat, abused and eventually starved her to death.

Homicide detective Collin Flynn with the Gwinnett County Police Department says the 10 year old only weighed 32 pounds when she died. Police say her father told them a number of stories about how it happened, from drinking chemicals or being poisoned, to being beaten by his wife into a catatonic state.

"He came home and discovered bruising on Emani's body that was not there when he left and Emani was in a state of not being able to talk and was having seizures," said Flynn recounted Moss' alleged testimony to police.

But investigators believe Emani was simply starved to death for seven days, maybe longer, even though there was plenty of food in the house.

"At one point in the interview he just leaned back in his chair and just said bluntly, I'm guilty I killed my baby," said Flynn.

Outside the courtroom, Moss' attorney would not say whether his client was sticking with any of those stories, or even if he'd really talked with police.

"I can't tell you what my client said, but it's a sad case," said his attorney John Burdges.

While police say most neighbors had no idea Emani even lived in the apartment complex, one neighbor did remember her scream.

"She described it as just an agonizing scream for five minutes," said Flynn.

But police say she never called 911. Emani's father allegedly told investigators around that time, someone poured boiling water down her stomach and thigh. They never sought medical treatment because they didn't want to go to jail. It's the same reason police say they tried to cover up her death, buying a large trash can from Walmart to burn her body.

"He said the body didn't burn like he thought it would, he thought it would burn to ashes but it didn't," said Flynn.

Police say Moss claims he put her partially burned body back in his car and went to work. He would later call 911 to report her death.

The attorney for Emani's grandmother listened to it all, horrified again by what he heard. He says they have yet to file a lawsuit against DFCS, but intend to do something to demand systemic change.

"Why would you put a child back into a home where she had been convicted, pled guilty and was on probation for abusing that child. Not just some child, this child," said attorney Mike Jones.

In court, police also said Emani's room was sparse and reeked of urine. They found stains on the carpet but have yet to identify what caused them.

So far, Tiffany Moss has said nothing to police about what happened inside that apartment. Both Tiffany and Eman remain in jail.

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