Police say Miami foster mother abused children, causing one girl to die

Girls tell investigators woman beat them, burned hands on stove

By Michelle F. Solomon - Podcast Producer/Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - A foster mother is facing charges after three girls, ranging in ages from 6 to 12 years old, were continuously abused in what Miami-Dade police and the Department of Children and Families say is one of the most horrifying cases of abuse they have seen.

A 7-year-old girl died of complications from the alleged abuse. 

Police say that Gina Emmanuel, 50, began fostering the children in 2014. She adopted the three girls and their 4-year-old brother in 2017.

They lived in Emmanuel's home at 19940 W. Dixie Highway. On Nov. 3, the seven-year-old was found unresponsive at the home. She died hours later at the hospital.

Miami-Dade homicide investigators noted suspicious injuries on the girl's body during the death investigation. They notified DCF, which began an investigation into the other children living in the home, according to the police report.

Two days after the death of the young girl, two girls, ages 6 and 12, living in the home were examined and interviewed by child abuse experts from the University of Miami's Child Protection Team.

According to the report, numerous injuries from former beatings were found on their bodies, including healed marks and healed burn scars on their hands and fingers.

The girls told CPT that Emmanuel had beat them, along with the 7-year-old who died, with belts, a brush and a back scratcher for punishment, made them stand for hours at a time, tied their hands and bodies to furniture when they were unable to stand any longer, tied socks around their eyes, burned their hands and fingers on a hot stove, and made them sleep on the floor if they wet the bed.

Also, detailed in the report was an incident from "June or July 2018." The deceased child and the 6-year-old girl were punished after waking in the middle of the night after being made to sleep on the floor of the home. 

Emmanuel allegedly became enraged when the two girls took bread that was intended for the woman's biological adult son. Emmanuel then allegedly woke the third child, the 12-year-old girl, so that she could watch the beating of the other two girls. Emmanuel, according to the report, then held the 6-year-old's and seven-year-old's hands on a hot stove repeatedly until they were burned. The report stated: "Their hands were permanently disfigured as a result."

Soon after the punishment, the 7-year-old girl started to suffer from flu-like symptoms, but, police say, Emmanuel did not seek medical attention for the child. Doctors later stated that the girl's death was due to pneumonia and sepsis, a bacterial infection in the bloodstream.

On Tuesday, Oct. 15, Emmanuel was taken to Miami-Dade's homicide bureau to provide a statement. She was subsequently arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated child abuse, three counts of child neglect and three counts of psychological abuse. Police say she has admitted to some of the charges.

 

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