Emani Gabrielle Moss was only ten years old when she died one of the most painful deaths. However, she was failed by more than one person.
She was born on the 23rd of April 2003 in Atlanta, Georgia. Unfortunately, her mother was a drug addict and thought the only way her daughter would be safe was if her father, Imani took full custody of her and became her sole legal parent. As a result, she gave her up and then completely vanished.
But, unfortunately, she couldn’t be more wrong. Though baby Emani ended up passing at a very young age, she had suffered beyond words.
The Evil stepmother
In 2007 Emani’s father met a woman named Tiffany during one of the church services, and though she was a beauty on the outside, her heart was filled with evil. The two quickly became inseparable, and after only two years of dating, they decided to tie the knot.
That following year the couple was blessed with a bouncing baby boy they named Tristan. However, it wasn’t long until Tiffany’s true colors showed up, but Moss was too blind to see.
Nonetheless, one day he was shocked to receive a call from the local police station asking him to come down. Though he had previously been arrested for assaulting Emani’s mother, he knew that he had not been physical with his new wife, so as a result, he wasn’t sure why they needed him. Nonetheless, he headed there, and to his surprise, it wasn't about him but his baby Emani.
The officer told him that her school had gotten them involved after noticing many signs of abuse.
Narrating what had happened, Emani said her stepmother Tiffany had whipped her for not doing her homework, and she was scared to go home. Shockingly, though Moss could see his daughter was being abused, he did nothing to prevent it, and neither did he have any comment.
However, Tiffany was then taken to the police station and charged with first-degree child cruelty. Though she pleaded guilty, she was only given a five-year probation period and stripped of her teaching license as part of Georgia’s First Offender Program. On top of that, the couple was also given mandatory parenting classes, which l am sure they only attended because they didn't have a choice since things only got worse.
Soon after, Emani was taken to her grandmother’s place, and for some time, the little girl was happy. She excelled at school, gained weight, and had some peace. However, as soon as the parental classes ended class, Moss demanded her back, and though Robin, Emani’s grandmother, fought for her custody, she lost the battle.
She couldn’t persuade the officers that her grandchild was being abused even though it was apparent. As a result, In the fall of 2010, Emani was returned to her parents, marking the beginning of her last days.
According to Emani, Tiffany became grumpier, scolded her for anything, and began starving her. The sad part was that none of the social services or law enforcement agencies checked up on her, and the little girl stayed in fear, constantly watching her back until her painful demise.
To try and isolate her from everyone, the family relocated multiple times between 2011 and 2013. They denied her to play with other kids and told her she was not allowed to go and visit her grandmother. Her life became a bubble.
Tiffany then gave birth to their second child, and since she was now a full-time stay-at-home mum, Emani never got a break and decided to run away. (she was only nine at the time)
She told one of the officers that she was tired of everything. However, after a police inquiry, her father said she was making it all up, and without any evidence, no charges were made. Emani was then returned home.
It wasn’t long until she was found by another officer sleeping in the bushes of a nearby complex, and though a child abuse case was filed, Tiffany and her husband got away with it. To make matters worse, none of the GDFCS (Georgia Division of Family and Children Services )followed up on the case.
In May 2013, the couple took their three kids to visit Moss’s sister Sharoniece and their mother Robin for a Mother’s day celebration. Though it was supposed to be a lovely day, the grandmother was concerned about her grandchild’s appearance. Emani’s hair had been badly cut.
She looked timid, hardly smiled, and extremely thin. Troubled, Robin approached Tiffany about it, and though she knew how heartless she was, she didn’t expect the kind of response she got “If you look ugly, you should act ugly.”Unfortunately, that was the last time she saw her alive.
Though there were many red flags that officers and social services chose to ignore, Emani’s father did nothing. However, some think he shouldn’t be blamed since he had two jobs and was hardly home.
He later told the jury that he was shocked by how much his daughter ate when he was around but was never concerned by her ridiculous weight loss. In his defense, he thought Emani’s metabolism was too high, and there was nothing he could do about it.
Moss said since his wife constantly complained about his daughter misbehaving, he chose to take her word for it and didn’t have a reason not to trust her; after all, it was the love of his love and the mother of his kids.
In the late summer of 2013, the family relocated to Lawrenceville, Georgia. According to District Attorney Danny Porter, that was when Emani completely vanished from the face of the earth.
She hardly saw extended family members, and neighbors later testified that that though they had seen Tiffany’s biological children playing outside, they never saw her at all. To their knowledge, the couple only had two kids.
It is believed that Emani was forced to stay in her room without water and food. Her stepmother baked fresh cookies for her two kids and only forced her to smell them. It wasn't long until her hunger turned into fatigue and then seizures.
Due to Newsbreak's strict rules, l can't write the exact details of the abuse and murder. So if you want to learn more, please click here, and check the subheading murder and the ones after. I apologize for the inconvenience this might cause. But just to summarize everything, the abuse was so bad that it ended up costing her life. The two were then arrested, and In exchange for a lesser sentence, Moss agreed to testify against his wife.
He told the jury that since he was always at work and hardly home, he didn't know Tiffany was abusing his daughter. However, he admitted to trying to cover up Emani’s murder and reporting her as a runaway. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
On the other hand, Tiffany refused to be presented by anyone and believed God was on her side. She hardly said anything, and despite one of the judges advising her to take legal help, she turned it down.
Dr. Staffenberg ( the one who performed the autopsy) came on the stand and explained in detail the kind of suffering Emani had endured.”She was more or less skin and bones.” Despite being a ten-year-old, “she only weighed 32 pounds,” which is approximately 15 kilograms.
On April 29, 2019, Tiffany was found guilty of murder, two accounts of felony, concealing a death, and two accounts of cruelty against children. She was sentenced to death by lethal injection and remains at Arrendale State Prison. One of the judges said she did not deserve less than she was given because she showed no remorse and didn't care about those her actions had hurt.
“There’s no joy when a jury imposes a death sentence. But this was one of the worst cases I’ve ever seen. The first time you look at it, it made you sick. The last time you look at it, it makes you sick.”said one of the judges.
She is currently the only female on Georgia’s death row, and if she is to be executed, she would be the third since 1945. However, she has tried to appeal with her representative, claiming Tiffany was not competent enough to stand trial and represent herself.
According to him, Tiffany suffered from “neuropsychological testing data that showed the defendant to have damage to the premotor and prefrontal regions of the brain.”
Because of how much the system had contributed to the gruesome crime, people took to the streets and demanded change. The state of Georgia accepted its mistakes and made reforms. Those who failed to physically follow up on abuse cases and only relied on phone calls concerning the children’s welfare were fired and stripped of their licenses.
On the other hand, Emani’s grandmother has filed a lawsuit against the state. She believes if the department of child services had done its job properly, her grandchild would be alive. As a result, “the plaintiff is entitled to recover for the wrongful death of Emani, including the full value of the economic and non-economic value of her life had she lived.”