Months after being arrested in connection with the death of their 3-year-old daughter, a Utah couple appeared in court while prosecutors reviewed evidence regarding their case.
According to the Inquisitr, police were called to the home of Brenda Emile and Miller Costello in July 2017. When they arrived at the home in Ogden, officers were horrified to find the lifeless body of 3-year-old Angelina Costello on the floor of an empty room.
Now, the parents could face the death penalty if proven guilty of aggravated murder in the case of Angelina's death.
The girl's body was wrapped in a blanket when police found her. Officer Sitka Hrabal testified that she could not believe the girl was 3 years old after seeing her gaunt body.
"I was told she was 3," the officer testified. "She looked like a Holocaust victim."
The child's face was reportedly covered in bruises and cuts and officers said they found fresh burn marks on her body.
Hrabal said the girl's facial features were sunken in and that she appeared to be devoid of any fat or muscle, likely due to severe malnutrition. Angelina's body weighed only 13.67 pounds -- the weight of a normal 3-month-old baby.
Investigators believe the parents had applied makeup to the 3-year-old's body in an attempt to hide her injuries.
"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," court papers read.
According to the Standard-Examiner, Michael Belenky, the forensic pathologist who conducted the child's autopsy for the state Medical Examiner's Office, testified in court about what he found during the autopsy.
Belenky showed an autopsy photo of the child's brain in court and pointed out that the 3-year-old had three points of brain hemorrhaging. Other photos shown by Belenky demonstrated the child's hygiene, which he called "deplorable."
The forensic pathologist also testified that injuries the child sustained on her back were consistent with healing burns from cigarettes. He said the child had cigarette burns on her face, lower back and fingers.
Emile reportedly told investigators that her daughter suffered from Clostridium difficile colitis, a colon infection. Belenky said he found no signs of the condition.
Belenky said that it was not clear when exactly the child died, but that the cause of death was clear.
"I believe the manner of death is homicide," he said.
Police believe that Angelina endured abuse for 18 months until her body could no longer bear it and she died.
Both Costello and Emile were charged with aggravated murder and are being held at Weber County Jail.