A mother pleaded guilty this week to murder by abuse or neglect in connection with the death of her 3-year-old daughter, whose remains were discovered on a softball field almost four years ago.
In a statement, the Delaware Attorney General’s Office announced Kristie Haas entered the plea for murder as well as three counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of abuse of a corpse Thursday, May 25. She reportedly agreed to the recommended sentence of 30 years in prison, though she will be formally sentenced at a later date.
She faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years. The Associated Press reports Kristie’s husband, Brandon Haas, pleaded guilty to child endangerment Friday, May 26.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, on Sept. 13, 2019, Smyrna Police officers responded to the Smyrna-Clayton Little Lass Softball fields after receiving a call about the discovery of a child’s remans. The victim was identified as Emma Grace Cole over a year later.
In the indictment, the Delaware Attorney General’s Office alleged Kristie and Brandon Haas “deprived Emma of sufficient food and needed medical attention and subjected Emma and her siblings to excessive forced exercise and inappropriate physical discipline.”
Brandon Haas was Emma Grace’s stepfather.
They were arrested in October 2020 in Pennsylvania, and Kristie Haas faced multiple charges including child abuse, assault, abusing a corpse, and reckless burning.
The Delaware News Journal reports Emma Grace’s body had been burned.
Attorney General Kathy Jennings said in the news release, “What this defendant did to her own daughter was heinous, and this week brings a complex and harrowing case to a just end. This conviction doesn’t just bring certainty in outcome and a lengthy sentence — it ensures that Emma’s young siblings, who would otherwise have been absolutely required to testify at trial, will not be re-traumatized by having to relive the terror of Emma’s last days.”