Mother charged with murder after child remains found in Smyrna

The mother of a 3-year-old whose remains were found in a Smyrna, Delaware softball field has been charged with murder in the case, authorities announced Tuesday.

Video Transcript

BRIAN TAFF: News for a young girl whose remains were found in Delaware, a field there, a year and a half ago. Investigators have now charged her mother with her murder. It's the end result of a long and tedious investigation. Action News reporter Maggie Kent live now in Smyrna. Maggie, you've got the update today.

MAGGIE KENT: Brian, investigators say that Emmy Grace Cole who was just three years old at the time of her death was malnourished, in need of medical attention, she was physically beaten, and forced to excessively exercise. Investigators say those findings are what led them to these murder charges.

KATHY JENNINGS: Well, she committed the murder.

MAGGIE KENT: Kristie Haas now indicted on two counts of murder by abuse or neglect in the death of her little girl Emma Grace Cole. Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings.

KATHY JENNINGS: Here was a three-year-old victim stolen from the world. These are the crimes that keep us up at night.

MAGGIE KENT: September 13th, 2019, a dog-walker made a terrible discovery at Little Lass softball field in Smyrna, Delaware. The body of the unidentified three-year-old girl.

KATHY JENNINGS: We believe her few short years were filled with abuse and torture.

MAGGIE KENT: By November 2019, the FBI developed these images hoping for clues. There was no missing person report made that fit this young girl's description. Through tips and interviews, investigators revealed the victim was Emma Grace Cole. The suspects, her mother Kristie Haas and stepdad Brandon. 13 months after the discovery, the Haases were charged with first-degree child abuse, endangering the welfare of a child. Kristie Haas facing abuse of a corpse and unlawful burning. And today, facing two murder charges.

LT. BRIAN DONNER: We knew that the mission was not complete until we were able to bring homicide charges in this case. Emma Grace Cole, her family-- her biological father's family says that her remains were returned to them for burial in Indiana. In Smyrna, Delaware, Maggie Kent, Channel 6 Action News. Sarah.