Grandma of 10-year-old starved to death fought for custody

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GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News is learning more about a 10-year old girl who starved to death.

Her burned body was found in a trash can in Gwinnett County Oct. 2. Family members say there were signs of trouble before the murder.

Channel 2’s Tony Thomas spoke to the grandmother of Emani Moss. She says about a year ago she was normal weight and had the always-present pigtails. In May 2013, Robin Moss says Emani had lost weight and her hair was chopped.

“She looked awful; she looked awful,” the grandmother said.

It concerned Moss enough that she began asking questions of her daughter-in-law, Tiffany.

“I definitely asked Tiffany. ‘I said ‘What's going on? And she said ‘When you act up, you should look ugly’ and my heart just dropped,” Moss said.

Moss says the next day she once again called Department of Family and Children Services, but her son, Eman, and Tiffany continued to have custody of the 10-year-old over the next few months. Gwinnett police now say Emani was abused, starved to death, ultimately dumped in a trash can and set on fire. Police found her remains Saturday.

“I see her hurt and what will not go away is the part where they throw her away,” Moss said.

Moss raised Emani for five of her 10 years. She showed Thomas dozens of pictures, including Eman and Emani at a father daughter dance; both smiling, but then things changed she says. And the last three years she claims she wasn't allowed to see Emani.  Moss believes the parents were hiding the abuse.

“When I see him, look at him, he's not him.  I don't see him. I see evilness,” Moss said.  “I think she went through all this to show us it's time to help these children. It's time to fight back.”

Moss said she’s hired a lawyer and says she's determined to force the state to make changes in the way it handles abuse complaints.

Channel 2 Action News has been waiting for two days for any type of response from Department of Family and Children Services.