Parents sentenced to life for starving, fatally abusing 3-year-old who 'looked like a Holocaust victim'
02/03/2023 3:37 pm PST
OGDEN, Utah (TCD) -- A 28-year-old woman and 30-year-old man were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for abusing and malnourishing their 3-year-old daughter, who ultimately died from her wounds.
KSL-TV reports Judge Michael DiReda handed Brenda Emile and Miller Eric Costello the sentences Friday, Feb. 3, saying, "The court has never experienced this level of depravity, this level of cruelty, and this level of evil in any of the cases it’s handled previously."
Emile and Costello were charged in July 2017 with aggravated murder for the death of their young girl, Angelina. According to the Standard-Examiner, Costello and Emile later pleaded guilty to the charge in order to avoid the death penalty.
Ogden Police were called to their home on July 6, 2017, about an unconscious child, and when officers arrived, they found Angelina deceased.
Angelina reportedly suffered extensive abuse at the hands of her parents and had "bruising, contusions, lacerations, burns, open sores, and abrasions" all over her body. Charging documents cited by KSL say she had a "large burn" on her chest and smaller burns on her legs, back, and feet.
Additionally, Angelina’s stomach was reportedly "sunken in," while "her legs and arms appeared thin and atrophied with no visible muscle tone or definition."
According to KSL, Ogden Police Officer Sitka Hrabal compared Angelina to a "Holocaust victim" due to her level of malnourishment.
Detective Richard Childress echoed that, saying Angelina’s body reminded him of children seen at concentration camps.
He said, "Severely malnutritioned doesn’t even really describe it. Starvation would be better."
Angelina reportedly weighed around 13 pounds at the time of her death. The medical examiner determined she died from blunt force trauma and starvation.
In court recently, Dr. Antoinette Laskey testified Angelina "absolutely demonstrated terminal malnutrition" at the end of her life. Her nose had been "destroyed" and would have needed reconstructive surgery using parts of her ear to repair it.
According to the Standard-Examiner, Emile and Costello chided their daughter by pretending to give her food, then taking it away. The parents reportedly recorded videos of their abuse, and Judge DiReda said Angelina’s brother "was instructed to strike Angelina and was praised for it."
At another hearing, psychologist and expert witness Lawrence Beall testified Costello and Emile believed Angelina was "cursed" because she was born early. Emile was reportedly of Romani descent, and having a mental illness is "considered a curse."
Beall said, "When Anna was born premature and highly dysfunctional, Eric [Costello] said, 'See, that’s true. She’s cursed.'"
DiReda told Emile and Costello at their sentencing, "She just deserved to be held in her parents' arms, to be loved and protected. Instead she was dehumanized and tortured by monsters."
- Ogden judge sentences 'monsters' in brutal child abuse case to life without parole - KSL
- Judge sees 'hand of evil' in toddler’s murder, sentences parents to life without parole - The Standard-Examiner
- Psychologist: Murderous parents viewed toddler daughter as defective, 'cursed' - The Standard-Examiner
- Pediatric expert testifies about depths of abuse suffered by murdered Ogden toddler - The Standard-Examiner
- Abused 3-year-old 'looked like a Holocaust victim,' officers testify, 2/9/2018 - KSL
- Charges: Ogden couple charged with murder covered up child’s injuries with makeup, 7/11/2017 - KSL
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