Brenda Emile and Miller Costello were arrested in July 2017 for the death of their 3-year-old child, Angelina Costello. The parents from Utah are currently being tried in court for the purportedly brutal way they treated their own kid.
Based on court documents, the police were called to the home of the Costellos located in Ogden, Utah. When they arrived, the authorities were horrified to see the child’s lifeless body on the floor of an empty room. Brenda Emile and Miller could face the death penalty if proven guilty of aggravated murder, the Daily News reported.
Angelina was wrapped in a blanket, and when one of the officers approached her gaunt body, she was so shocked that she suddenly found herself backing up against a wall.
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Sitka Hrabal, an Ogden police officer, testified on Feb. 9 that she could not believe that the girl was 3-years-old. In court, she described Angelina Costello’s body when she first saw it.
“I was told she was 3. She looked like a Holocaust victim.”
The little girl’s small frame was full of bruises and cuts, and there were even fresh burn marks when she was found. Hrabal added that the toddler’s facial features were sunken in and devoid of any fat or muscle, likely because of severe malnutrition.
It was believed that the parents also attempted to conceal the 3-year-old’s injuries by applying makeup on her body.
“Officers on scene immediately recognized the child victim had bruising, contusions, lacerations, burns, open sores and abrasions all over her face, hands, legs, head and neck,” the court papers read.
The severity of Angelina’s injuries was further revealed when Richard Childress, the detective who supervised the autopsy, testified that seeing the toddler’s emaciated body, while being examined, made him think of the children in concentration camps and poverty-stricken Third World countries.
Childress said that the girl’s condition cannot even really be described as severe malnutrition. Looking at it, he thinks “starvation” is the better word for it.
At the time of her death, Angelina only weighed 13.67 pounds which is equivalent to the normal weight of a 3-month-old infant. As for the extent of her injuries, the detective narrated that the girl suffered from massive hemorrhage to the back of her head and had internal injuries.
In her death certificate, blunt force trauma and starvation were listed as causes of her demise.
During the court hearing on Friday, Feb. 9, Christopher Shaw, Deputy Weber County Attorney told a judge that the girl lived a life of torture. To back his claims, he showed video clips as evidence.
The videos were obtained from mobile phone devices of the suspects, Emile and Miller Costello. The clips revealed Angelina’s deteriorating condition as time passes by.
In one clip, the girl was shown being punished by her parents. The suspects gave her food but snatched it away before she could eat it. Another video showed the 23-year-old mother eating and holding out a piece of food in front of her daughter’s mouth.
She then asked Angelina, who had a visible bruise on her cheek, “Do you want to eat?” Emile immediately took the food away and while laughing she exclaimed, “I lied!”
Police believe that the girl endured the abuse for 18 months until her body could no longer bear it and died. It appeared that Angelina has a younger sister and a brother but they are healthy and well-cared for.
Miller Eric Costello, 25, and Brenda Emile, 23, are both charged with aggravated murder. The preliminary hearing for them will continue on Monday, Feb.12.