On May 25, Kristie Haas pled guilty to the lead charge of Murder by Abuse or Neglect First Degree for the killing of her three-year-old daughter, Emma Cole prosecutors announced today.
In addition to Murder by Abuse or Neglect, Haas also pled guilty to three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child and one count of Abuse of a Corpse. Haas was indicted in 2021 after a lengthy investigation by Smyrna Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and several other agencies.
“What this defendant did to her own daughter was heinous, and this week brings a complex and harrowing case to a just end,” said Attorney General Kathy Jennings. “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. I’m enormously grateful to the DOJ team and many investigators who took on this difficult case; identified Emma; and ultimately secured justice. Today, like every day, we’re reminded to hold our young ones close.”
On September 13, 2019, officers of the Smyrna Police Department responded to a report of a child’s remains being discovered at the Smyrna-Clayton Little Lass Softball fields. The discovery sparked a multi-jurisdictional investigation into the child’s identity and the circumstances surrounding her death.
After more than a year of investigation, the child was identified as Emma Grace Cole, who was three years old at the time of her death. At the time of her death, Emma resided with her mother, Kristie Haas, her stepfather, Brandon Haas, and her siblings in Smyrna, Delaware.
Sentencing will follow at a later date. Haas faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison. As part of the plea agreement, Haas will agree with the State’s recommendation of 30 years in prison officials said.
This sentence was secured by Deputy Attorneys General Kevin Smith, Erika Flaschner, and Jamie McCloskey; Paralegals Sue Balik and Nicole Rollins, Administrative Assistants Ally Spedden and Rebecca Scott, and Social Worker Sarah Wilson. The investigation was led by the Smyrna Police Department with significant investigative support from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Also assisting the investigation were the United States Secret Service, the Delaware State Police, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Delaware Division of Forensic Science, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the Delaware Department of Transportation, the Delaware Office of the State Fire Marshal, the Newton Township (Pa.) Police Department, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.