Warning: This post features explicit details of child abuse that could be triggering for some readers.
Sanaa Cunningham was six-years-old when she started to forget how to do simple things like open a door, or use the toilet.
Her older sister said she felt like Sanaa was "disappearing before their eyes."
Aged seven, Sanaa died. She had a bone-deep cut on her foot and more than 100 cuts and bruises on her body.
Her step-mother, South Australian-born Lisa Cunningham, and father ex-police detective Germayne Cunningham have been charged with the little girl's murder in America, and face the death penalty if found guilty of her abuse, neglect and subsequent death.
Lisa and Germayne's blended family.
When Lisa discovered infidelity in her 14-year marriage she filed for divorce.
The Murry Bridge local wanted to move back home to Australia, but her US airman ex-husband filed an injunction preventing her from leaving the country with their two children, so she moved within the United States instead, settling in Pheonix, Arizona.
"Obviously I would not leave them [my children], so I was forced to stay and build a new life," she told The Quicky, via a prison messaging app this week.
In May 2011, Lisa met Germayne Cunningham and in 2013 they moved in together and blended their families.
He had sole custody over two daughters from his previous relationship, the youngest of which was Sanaa, who was 18-months-old when Lisa met her.