Police: Utah Parents Taunted Daughter with Food Before She Died of Abuse and Starvation

Brenda Emile, left, and Miller Costello, a couple who were arrested Friday, July 7, 2017, in Ogden, Utah. Police charged them with the death of their three-year-old daughter, found dead from malnutrition and abuse.
Weber County Sheriff's Office via AP

Police in Utah said the parents of a toddler who died of abuse and starvation tortured the girl by waving food just out of her reach. The parents allegedly also used makeup to try to hide bruises and signs of abuse.

Ogden police arrested parents Brenda Emile and Miller Costello and charged them with the death of their three-year-old daughter, who was found dead from malnutrition and abuse, the Associated Press reported.

The little girl, named Angelina, was found dead by first responders on July 6 after Brenda Emile called 911 to report that the child was not breathing.

Doctors reported that Angelina’s emaciated body was covered in cuts, burns, and bruises.

“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,” according to police records. “The child victim was also covered in a thin layer of what appeared to be make-up in an attempt to conceal the injuries.”

Police reported that the child’s mother admitted to using makeup on the child’s body to hide some of the injuries “so they didn’t look as bad.”

Two other children were removed from the home when charges were filed.

A complaint says that during the investigation, police found cell phone video of the parents torturing the starving child by putting food in front of her, then snatching it away before the girl could eat it. The police report says video also shows the parents hitting the girl, who was obviously in distress.

“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 added, continuing:

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.

County prosecutors asked that the couple be held without bail, as they are a probable flight risk. To buttress the request, prosecutors noted that the couple had several thousand dollars in cash on them when arrested.

The pair is now housed in the Weber County Jail without bail.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.