Distraught dad recounted girl’s end, detective testifies

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Read the DFCS case history on Emani Moss, and learn more about warning signs that led up to her death.

On Halloween night Eman Moss and his wife Tiffany drove to a secluded part of Satellite Boulevard in Duluth to try to make his 10-year-old daughter Emani disappear.

That was a Thursday. The girl had died the day before, Eman Moss, 30, told Gwinnett County homicide Detective Collin Flynn. When police found her body early Saturday morning, stuffed in an aluminum trash can, Emani weighed just 32 pounds. She had weighed 60 pounds in May.

Moss said his wife had persuaded him to get rid of the body so they could keep their family — which includes two younger children — together, Flynn testified Friday at a probable cause hearing on the felony murder charges filed against the Lawrenceville couple. Tiffany Moss, 30, was already on probation for beating Emani with a belt in 2010 and was worried about being sent to jail, her husband told police.

The Mosses’ case was bound over to Gwinnett Superior Court on Friday, and they remain incarcerated in the county detention center.

The couple showed no emotion as Flynn recounted the gruesome details of Emani’s final days and the haphazard attempt to conceal her death.

Flynn testified that, according to Eman Moss, they decided to burn her body, thinking she would disintegrate into ashes. When their plan failed, they placed the girl’s body back in Eman Moss’ Blazer. Thirty hours later, Eman Moss called police against his wife’s objections.

Moss initially told police his daughter had died after ingesting a household cleaner. Flynn said that when he was pressed, Eman Moss’ story changed. He suggested that his wife had poisoned Emani, telling the detective Tiffany and his daughter had a “rocky relationship.”

After examining Emani’s body — “malnourished to the point of nothing I’d ever seen before,” Flynn said — he confronted her father a second time in the back of a squad car.

Moss finally broke down, the detective testified.

“I’m guilty. I killed my baby,” he said, according to Flynn.

Meanwhile, Tiffany Moss was on the run. Her mother told police she had dropped off her young son and daughter, changed clothes and fled because “she didn’t want to go to jail,” Flynn testified. Tiffany Moss turned herself in late Saturday afternoon.

Eman Moss would eventually give police what they believe to be an accurate account of what led up to Emani’s death. He told Flynn he came home from work on Oct. 24 and discovered his daughter in the bathtub, “seized up and unable to move her body.”

Moss said he didn’t take Emani to the hospital because he was afraid he and his wife would get in trouble. The little girl was left to die.

Flynn said there was plenty of food inside the Mosses’ three-bedroom apartment. It was clean inside, though in Emani’s room, furnished only with a bed, the smell of urine was “almost overpowering — completely different from the rest of the house,” Flynn testified.

Later, he talked to a downstairs neighbor who recalled hearing “agonizing screaming” one night from the Mosses’ apartment. But no one had ever seen Emani, who was no longer attending school and was kept hidden from relatives, Flynn said.

“None of the neighbors even knew Emani existed,” he testified.

Georgia’s child-protection agency is under fire for its handling of Emani Moss’ case. Documents obtained from the Division of Family and Children’s Services revealed caseworkers dismissed a report last year that Emani had been beaten with a belt, describing the beating as “corporal punishment” without interviewing the girl, examining her injuries or questioning her parents.

And in August, DFCS dismissed a complaint from an anonymous caller who said Emani appeared to be underfed and neglected. No investigation was pursued because, according to the agency’s case file, the caller had not seen the family in three months and couldn’t provide their home address.