GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- Through an open records request 11alive obtained the DFCS case file of 10 year-old Emani Moss.
The little girl was found murdered this month in Gwinnett County. Police say she died at the hands of her parents.
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What initially stands out about the file is the file itself. It is more than 200-pages thick, documenting the troubling life history of Emani and her family: the failures, the successes, the lies, and finally the murder of an innocent little girl, whose life literally got lost in those voluminous pages.
We focused primarily on the years from 2010 to 2013, the years of violence against Emani, who, after being beaten by her stepmother and removed from the home, was terrified of going back.
And despite the objections of an advocate, the court judge sent her home, nonetheless, in keeping with the DFCS mandated goal of "family preservation."
The documents show the family went through months of extensive counseling and follow-up in 2010. They appeared to be functioning well and making progress, with "love" being cited as the bond.
But in 2012, there were signs of trouble again.
First, there was a report Emani was being spanked again. It was screened out, dismissed as minor.
Another report followed, with a suspicion of danger. This was screened out as well because DFCS couldn't find the family.
The next time Emani's name popped up on the agency's radar, she was dead - murdered, police say, by her parents. The case file notes how her father described to police the torture she endured: scalding with boiling water; isolation like a prisoner; and the starvation that ultimately killed her.
Ironically, even without reading the mountainous document, it still speaks for itself. A reasonable person would likely surmise simply from the sheer volume that there was a problem.
A big problem.