Mother has now been charged with murder of Emma Cole

Emma Grace Cole, 3, of Smyrna, Delaware. [Image credit: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children]

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Smyrna, Delaware: Attorney General Kathy Jennings announced murder charges against 28-year-old Kristie Haas for the 2019 death of 3-year-old Emma Cole on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.

 

Emma's charred remains were found at the Little Lass Softball field in September 2019. Her body was not identified until October 2020 at which time investigators announced that persons of interest were in custody.

 

Following her identification, the softball field was renamed Emma Grace Memorial Field.

 

Kristie and her husband, 39-year-old Brandon Haas were initially charged with first degree child abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. Kristie faced additional charges of second-degree assault, abusing a corpse, and reckless burning.

 

In a reindictment released yesterday, Kristie has been charged with two counts of murder by abuse or neglect in the first degree. These charges carry with them the possibility of a life sentence, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.

 

The first count accuses Kristie of "an act of abuse or neglect" whereas the second charge alleges a "pattern of abuse or neglect." The couple has been accused of withholding food and medical care to the extent that the indictment reads that "the defendants did engage in the torture or maltreatment of the child."

 

Rachel Byrd, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Baltimore Field Office stated that, "The details of this case are heartbreaking and quite frankly, unimaginable." Throughout the course of their investigation they found reason to believe that "her few short years were filled with abuse and torture."

 

Brandon was arraigned on the charges against him Tuesday afternoon and no date for Kristie's arraignment was announced at the press conference.

 

When asked if the state had made previous contact with the family over suspicion of abuse in the home, Jennings said that she did not wish to make statements at that time beyond what was outlined in the indictment, but did state that during the course of the trial, information would come to light establishing a pattern of abuse.

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