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Police: Girl, 10, may have been dead for days before body found in trash

By Greg Botelho, CNN
updated 5:37 AM EST, Wed November 6, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The death of 10-year-old Georgia girl found in a trash can is ruled a homicide
  • She appears underweight; authorities think she'd been denied food
  • Her body was found Saturday; she may have died three days earlier, police say
  • Police: The girl's father, stepmother are charged with murder in her death

(CNN) -- A 10-year-old Georgia girl may have been dead for days -- having likely been starved well before that -- before her charred body was discovered in a trash can, police said Tuesday.

Eman Moss, the father of young Emani Moss pointed Gwinnett County police early Saturday to her body in the trash of a Lawrenceville apartment complex.

By then, she may have been dead for days, authorities say.

Emani may have died as early as October 30, county police said Tuesday while reporting the results of an autopsy.

The state of the girl's body indicated she was severely underweight, with investigators determining she had been denied food for several days before her death.

Detectives found Emani had been isolated from everyone but her family in recent weeks. Officials said she had not attended school this school year.

Detectives said they believe Emani was burned to cover up her killing.

The Gwinnett County Medical Examiner's Office ruled her death a homicide, though it is waiting for additional test results before pinning down a cause of death.

The episode began with a 911 call around 3:40 a.m. Saturday from a man now believed to be Emani's father. Police first reported he was suicidal, but on Tuesday indicated that was not the case.

The man told dispatchers there was a body with him. His young daughter, he said, had drunk some type of chemical and died.

Gwinnett County police headed to the family's residence in Lawrenceville, a city of about 29,000 people some 30 miles northeast of Atlanta.

They found the man who apparently had made the call standing outside a building in an apartment complex. Police said he directed officers to a trash can in a recreation area where the girl's body was found.

The slain girl's father and her stepmother, Tiffany Moss, were arrested. Gwinnett County police announced Saturday evening that both are charged with felony murder, first-degree cruelty to children and concealing a body.

In July: Man admits killing Louisiana girl found in trash can

CNN's Jennifer Feldman and John Branch contributed to this report.

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