OGDEN, Utah (KUTV) Prosecutors charged two "self-proclaimed gypsy" parents with aggravated murder Tuesday morning after investigators said they discovered the couple’s child was covered in make-up after her death last week.
A warning — the details in this report are from criminal charging documents and are disturbing.
Ogden Police arrested Miller Costello, 25, and Brenda Emile, 22, on July 6 on suspicion of child abuse homicide.
New court documents were released Tuesday, when charges were formally filed, that paint a very disturbing picture of the three-year-old child’s life.
“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,” a probable cause statement reads. “The child victim was also covered in a thin layer of what appeared to be make-up in an attempt to conceal the injuries.”
Investigators say Emile admitted to putting the make-up on the child so “[the injuries] didn’t look as bad.”
“A search of [Costello] and [Emile’s] cell phones revealed several pictures and videos which showed a progressive time frame of the child victim’s deteriorating health conditions,” the probable cause statement reads. “The videos also appear to show both [Costello] and [Emile] taunting the child victim with food by presenting it to her and then removing it from her and disciplining her. One video shows [Costello] using the feet of an infant child to kick the child victim in the face. In the videos the child victim is in an obvious state of emotional duress and distress.”
When Costello was interviewed by detectives, he said Emile was withholding food from the child and he knew his daughter needed medical attention.
"[Costello] said he did not seek any medical attention for the child victim," an investigator wrote in a probable cause statement. "[Costello] also took no action to remove the child victim from this situation or make police aware.”
When the medical examiner’s office checked the toddler, it found that she was in rigor mortis.
Court documents also say the baby had recent wounds, as well as other wounds that were at various stages of healing.
Investigators wrote that Costello and Emile have self-proclaimed ties to a transient Romanian gypsy community. They were also found with a significant amount of cash.
“[Costello’s] wallet had approximately $1,200 in cash and over $8,000 in a cashier’s check. Brenda had $36,190 in a purse purchased from Nordstrom’s on June 17, 2017 for approximately $2,000,” the probable cause statement reads.
Costello and Emile are both being held in the Weber County Jail without bail. They have indicated they are seeking a private lawyer and are scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.