In July 2017, Utah parents Miller Costello, 25, and Brenda Emile, 23, were arrested after police found their 3-year-old daughter dead in their home.
According to police reports, authorities responded to a call at the residence for an unresponsive child and arrived to find Angelina Costello covered in injuries from apparent abuse.
She had already passed away. The probable cause report read:
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 toddler was covered in small burns from what appeared to be cigarettes and had “sunken in” features. Some of her injuries were healing, while others were recent.
Videos from the parents’ cell phones revealed that they recorded some of the abuse they put the toddler through.
One video showed the mother taunting the malnourished 3-year-old with food and then taking it away before laughing.
The videos dated back to January 2017 and showed the child getting progressively more sickly.
Medical examiner Michael Belenky determined that Angelina had “brain hemorrhaging” at the time of her death and called the state of her hygiene “deplorable,” the Standard-Examiner reported.
During the autopsy, Belenky found makeup covering some of the child’s burns. The mother later admitted to police that she put makeup on her daughter’s injuries “so they didn’t look as bad.”
Belenky determined the manner of death was homicide.
The parents were charged with aggravated murder in Angelina’s death. And now, their lives may be on the line.
According to Fox 13, Utah prosecutors announced that they are seeking the death penalty against both parents. Weber County Attorneys filed the notice on Tuesday.
Aggravated murder is a capital felony in Utah, meaning that the couple can face life in prison without parole or the death penalty if found guilty.
The couple’s other children have been put in protective care.