Former Phoenix police detective, wife arraigned on child abuse, murder charges

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A former Phoenix police detective and his wife are facing charges in connection with the death of the man's young daughter.

7-year-old Sanaa Cunningham died in February 2017, but Germayne and Lisa Cunningham were not indicted on child abuse charges until several months later. On January 2nd, they were arraigned on those charges.

In Court, Germayne, 37, pleaded not guilty to a count of First Degree Murder, and 11 counts of Felony Child Abuse. Lisa did not show up for her court arraignment, as she was taken to the hospital after saying she was having a hard time breathing. The arraignment was postponed by a judge.

Prosecutors asked that Cunningham be taken into custody and held on a $1 million bond, which is typical for high profile murder defendants.

"There has been information circulated that he cashed out his retirement, meaning he has the means to flee or leave the state," said Prosecutor Joshua Clark.

The judge, however, ordered Cunningham could remain free, but must wear a tracking monitor.

On a campaign, the family stated Sanaa died after battling a series of mental and physical health issues that were improperly diagnosed. Goodyear Police continued to investigate the case and say Germanyne and stepmother Lisa abused and neglected the child since at least June 2016. Court documents show they forced her to sleep outside, restrained her with zip ties and even locked her in the garage and laundry room.

The Department of Child Safety says multiple visits were made to the family's residence over several months, but there wasn't enough evidence to justify removing Sanaa from the home.

The Cunninghams were indicted by a grand jury on 10 counts of child abuse and one count of first degree murder.

Germanyne Cunningham was with the Phoenix Police Department for 12 years before he resigned in September. It's not known if the Goodyear Police investigation into his daughter's death had anything to do with why he left the force.