SMYRNA, Delaware (KYW) — There are new developments in the death of a 3-year-old Smyrna, Delaware girl whose remains were found in a softball field in 2019. Her mother has been re-indicted in the girl’s death.
Three-year-old Emma Cole‘s remains were found in 2019, a year after she went missing. Her mother and stepfather were indicted on child abuse and endangering the welfare of a child charges in 2020. On Tuesday, her mother’s charges were upgraded to murder.
Law officials say the computer-generated sketch of little Emma was instrumental in their case.
Her burned remains were discovered in a softball field. The FBI then stepped in with their extensive resources in order to crack the case.
After medical evidence and witness interviews, Emma’s mother Kristie Haas’ charges have been upgraded to two counts of murder by abuse or neglect. She is facing a potential life sentence, with a minimum of 15 years.
Both Emma’s mother and stepfather, Brandon Haas, were already facing charges of second-degree assault, abusing a corpse, and reckless burning.
They’re being accused of depriving Emma of food and medical attention and subjected the 3-year-old and her siblings to excessive forced exercise and inappropriate physical discipline.
“I think today we need to hold our children and grandchildren extra tight because there are those who never had a chance, and Emma never had a chance given the abuse that she endured over a very long period of time,” Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings said. “When you go home tonight hug your kids and hug your grandkids.”
Since last year’s arrest, Brandon Haas wasn’t incarcerated the entire time, but he is currently in jail. His indictment was handed down Monday and he will be arraigned Tuesday afternoon. He could face up to 55 years in prison.
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