OGDEN, Utah, July 11, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — A couple has been formally charged with aggravated murder in the July 6 abuse death of their 3-year-old daughter in Ogden.
Miller Costello, 25, and Brenda Emile, 22, each face the first-degree felony charge, according to court documents. Costello and Emile originally were booked into the Weber County Jail on suspicion of child abuse homicide in the death of Angelina Costello.
Police responding to a 911 call arrived at the family’s residence to find Angelina already dead and in the early stages of rigor mortis, the probable cause statement says.
Warning: The statement shared additional disturbing details of the child’s short life, revealed below.
The toddler’s body was covered in burns, cuts and bruises, which Emile admitted to trying to hide by applying makeup, the statement says.
“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 statement says.
A Medical Examiner’s Office investigator who examined the body found a large burn on the child’s chest, and bruises, cuts and smaller burns on her back and legs, the statement says. Some injuries appeared to be new, and others were partially healed.
Officers also noted Angelina appeared to be “extremely malnourished.” A search of Costello and Emile’s cellphones revealed photos and videos going back 18 months and documenting the child’s injuries and declining health. Videos also showed the suspects “taunting the child victim with food by presenting it to her and then removing it from her and disciplining her,” the statement says.
Costello told investigators he knew that Emile was withholding food from the child, and that Angelina needed medical care, but did not seek it for her.
Costello told investigators he and Emile have ties to a transient Gypsy community, and he makes a living buying scrap metal at auctions across the country, and made $150,000 last month. The couple had been in Ogden about a week, police have said.
Costello said that often, when he arrived home after work, he would notice new injuries to Angelina, which Emile would explain as the results of accidents or altercations with the child’s siblings, he said.
Emile repeated that story with police, telling them she knew Angelina was falling and being hit by her siblings, but did not attempt to prevent the injuries. Emile told officers she didn’t take Angelina for medical care for fear police would investigate and the children would be taken from her custody.
Emile and Costello’s other children, one older and one younger than Angelina, were taken into protective custody.
The death investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Ogden Police Detective Larry Lewis at 801-629-8438 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.