10-Year-Old Girl Beaten, Starved and Burned in Trash Can
Emani’s stepmother forced her to smell freshly baked cookies made for her two biological children while she starved to death in her room
Emani Gabrielle Moss was an incredibly bright and precious 10-year-old girl who enjoyed cooking, reading and ballet. Unfortunately, in her short life, Emani had never known anything but pain. She was an innocent, defenceless child who tried everything she could to escape her stepmother’s unrelenting abuse but was consistently failed not only by the police and child services but also by her own father.
On Halloween 2013, Emani’s 32-pound body was found stuffed in a trash can. She had been starved to death and burned.
Emani was born to a drug-addicted mother who was regularly beaten by her father, Eman, in front of her. Shortly after Emani’s birth, her mother relinquished all parental rights, not only for Emani but for her other five children as well. Despite a 2004 conviction of battery and second-degree child cruelty, Emani received sole custody of Eman.
As a single father, Eman frequently took Emani to church. It was there he met a woman named Tiffany, a preschool teacher. They married in 2009 and had two children together. Unfortunately, Tiffany wasn’t the loving stepmom Emani had hoped for; while Tiffany treated her two biological children well, she would constantly abuse Emani. She would beat her over trivial matters and send her to school with welts, scabs and bruises all over her body.
In 2010, when Emani was six-years-old, she courageously told a school nurse her stepmother had beaten her with a curtain rod. The nurse found several injuries to Emani’s back, chest, legs, shoulders and arms. The police were informed. Tiffany was arrested and charged with first-degree child cruelty.
Tiffany admitted to abusing Emani, claiming she hit Emani because she failed to complete her homework. Tiffany pleaded guilty and since she was a first-time offender, she received a plea deal that consisted of five-year probation and mandatory parenting classes. In addition, Tiffany was no longer allowed to work as a preschool teacher. Unfortunately, this was not the end of Tiffany’s abuse of Emani, it was just the beginning.
Following Tiffany’s arrest, Emani was removed from the Moss home and was placed into the custody of her grandmother, Robin. Emani began to excel while living with her grandmother; her grades went up and she was visibly happier. However, only six months later, Eman fought for custody and won. The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (GDFCS) returned Emani to the Moss home and she was once again left to defend herself against her stepmother.
Tiffany’s resentment of Emani only grew after she lost her job as a preschool teacher and when Emani returned to live with her, the abuse got much, much worse.
Between 2011 and 2013, the Moss family relocated several times within Georgia and refused to let Emani see her grandmother. Robin tried to regain custody of Emani but was unsuccessful. Despite several reports to GDFCS citing Tiffany and Eman were still abusing Emani, she was not removed from the home and no employee ever made a home visit to see Emani’s physical state in person.
In 2012, when Emani was 9-years-old, she ran away from home and told an officer about the abuse. Eman and Tiffany successfully convinced the police Emani was lying and she was returned to the home. Later that same year, Tiffany whipped Emani with a belt all over her body and left her tied in a cold shower. Emani escaped and ran away again. A police officer found her sleeping in the bushes. Emani told the officer she had run away because her stepmother was mean and was hurting her. The officer returned Emani to the Moss home but reported her claims to GDFCS. No one ever followed up.
In May of 2013, Eman and Tiffany took their three children and visited Eman’s sister Sharoniece and their mother Robin for Mother’s Day. Sharoniece and Robin immediately noticed there was something wrong. Emani was much more shy and timid than normal, her hair had been bizarrely cut and she was exceptionally thin. When Robin confronted Tiffany about Emani’s physical state, Tiffany responded, “If you look ugly, you should act ugly.” Mother’s Day was the last time Shroniece and Robin saw Emani alive.
After Mother’s Day, Eman and Tiffany took their three children and moved to Lawrenceville, Georgia. Emani was now more isolated than ever. She was pulled out of school and never saw anyone other than her parents and two step-siblings. It was later discovered the neighbours only ever saw the two young children and had no idea Emani even existed.
Eman worked two jobs and was rarely ever home other than to sleep. He would leave the house at six am for his first job, come home to change and then leave again at six pm for his second job. It was at this time Tiffany began starving Emani.
Emani was forced to stay inside her room. She was constantly beaten and withheld food. Tiffany would bake fresh cookies and meals for her two biological children. She would force Emani to smell the cookies and look at photos of the meals, all while she laid on her bed suffering from hunger pains. Eventually, Emani’s hunger pains turned into severe fatigue. She was too weak to talk or move and was forced to defecate and urinate in her bed. Emani wasn’t only starved, she was terrorized.
On October 24, 2013, after several weeks of starvation, Emani suffered a seizure. Tiffany was at home at the time but failed to call for help. Eman came home to find Emani laying in the bathroom, her eyes were rolled back and she was shaking. Eman laid her on her bed where she was left for the next four days.
On October 28, Tiffany phoned Eman at work and informed him Emani was dead. Eman came home and found Emani limp on her bedroom floor wrapped in a blanket.
Eman later told a courtroom he wanted to call the police but Tiffany wouldn’t let him. She feared losing custody of her two biological children and told Eman they had to hide Emani’s body instead. Eman and Tiffany wrapped Emani’s body in her bedsheets and placed her in the computer room. Tiffany and Eman’s lives went back to normal as their daughter lay decomposing in the next room.
Several days later, Eman and Tiffany came up with a plan to dispose of Emani’s body. Eman went to a linen store where he bought new bedsheets for Emani’s bed, the same ones her body had been wrapped in. He then purchased a large trash can, garbage bags, lighter fluid and charcoal. The couple planned to report Emani as a runaway.
On Halloween 2013, Eman and Tiffany compressed Emani’s body with duct tape and stuffed her inside a garbage bag. They placed the garbage bag inside of the trash can and put the trash can in their car. Tiffany and Eman woke their two young children up, put them in the car and went in search of a place to burn Emani’s body.
Once at a secluded location, Eman and Tiffany covered Emani’s body with lighter fluid and set it on fire. They watched their daughter’s body burn for five minutes. When they realized it would not burn down to ashes, they put Emani’s burnt corpse back into their vehicle.
Eman drove to work the next day with Emani’s body still in the car. He told a co-worker what had happened and the co-worker urged him to phone the police. After he returned home from his second job at 4 am, he finally decided to phone the authorities. By the time they arrived at the home, Tiffany had fled with her two children.
Eman told the authorities Emani had died after drinking a chemical, however, the evidence of years of abuse on Emani’s body told a different story. He was ultimately arrested and charged with felony murder and concealing a death. Tiffany dropped her two children off at her mother’s home and turned herself in shortly after.
Eman pled guilty in 2015. He claimed he didn’t know Tiffany was starving Emani and that because he was always working, he never realized how thin she was and that she was being beaten. He took a plea deal and was sentenced to life in prison in exchange for testifying against Tiffany.
Tiffany refused legal aid and decided to represent herself. She did not call any witnesses nor did she make any opening or closing statements. Eighteen witnesses were called on by the prosecution including Eman’s mother Robin, his sister Sharoniece, Emani’s school teacher and the medical examiner.
On April 29, 2019, Tiffany was found guilty on six counts; one count of malice murder, two counts of felony murder, two counts of child cruelty and one count of concealing a death. She was sentenced to death by lethal injection. Tiffany is incarcerated at Arrendale State Prison. She is currently the only female inmate on death row in Georgia.
Robin expressed disappointment at Tiffany’s sentence, “I wanted her to live and suffer, never ever ever ever get out, cause I wanted her to feel what my granddaughter felt. I wanted her to understand what she had done to a child,” she said in a 2019 interview. Still, Robin found solace in the fact Tiffany was convicted on all six counts and feels that Emani did ultimately get justice.
Several systemic changes were made to GDFCS following Emani’s murder. Many employees who failed to intervene after receiving several abuse reports regarding Emani were terminated. Caseworkers were no longer allowed to make decisions regarding the welfare of a child based on phone calls with the parents. In addition, they must make in-home visits to see the child's physical well-being in person after receiving a report of abuse or negligence. Robin Moss also sued GDFCS citing they were aware of the abuse Emani suffered and failed to act.
Eman and Tiffany’s two other children, a 3-year-old boy and a 1-year-old girl, were placed into the foster care system following their arrest. They were ultimately adopted by their foster parents and according to the most recent update, they are both happy and doing great.
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