Pa. couple arrested in connection with child remains found in Smyrna, police ID girl
More than a year after the remains of a 3-year-old girl were found at a Smyrna softball field complex, a Pennsylvania couple has been arrested.
Police on Thursday identified the girl as Emma Cole. She's believed to have been dead for "several weeks or possibly longer" when she was found.
In connection with Emma's death, Brandon and Kristie Haas were charged in Pennsylvania with “arrest without prior requisition,” which gives authorities the ability to take someone into custody for charges in another state.
The charge allows law enforcement to assist in the extradition of a person to another state.
A Pennsylvania judge set their bond at $1 million, an amount usually reserved for the most serious charges. It's not immediately clear if charges have been filed against the couple in Delaware.
The two, formerly of Smyrna, married in May 2017, according to Facebook posts. Indiana court records show Emma is Kristie's daughter.
Police did not provide further details on the child other than to identify her for the first time publicly on Thursday.
At the time Emma's remains were discovered, the couple lived in a home on North New Street in Smyrna, records show, a little more than a mile from the softball fields.
The couple was evicted from the single-story house in October 2019. Court records show they filed for bankruptcy twice that year due to “consumer debt.”
The Haas' arrests come about 13 months after a dog walker came across Emma's remains at Little Lass Fields in Smyrna. The fields, across from Smyrna Middle School, serve as softball fields for Little League girls in the area.
In the weeks and months that followed, Smyrna police enlisted the help of departments across the region and in other states. The department also began working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Delaware Division of Forensic Science to identify Emma.
A search through NCMEC's website does not show any reports of the girl. It also does not appear that police issued any alerts regarding her disappearance, though she may never have been reported missing.
Police first released a sketch of Emma in November 2019. At the time, police said they hoped the facial reconstruction image would prompt tipsters to come forward with either the girl's identity or information about who killed or left her there.
She had slightly wavy brown hair, police said at the time. Photos on both Brandon and Kristie Haas' Facebook pages show two young girls matching that description.
Kristie's Facebook profile highlights a black-and-white photo of three children at the top of her page. Two young girls, as well as a young boy, are shown looking into the camera in the photo posted in July 2017.
Police did not release details about any additional children in the couple's custody.
But the Facebook page, as well as two others for KB Haas and Kristie Hass that are linked to Brandon Haas with photos of the same people, has numerous photos of three children, laughing and smiling for the camera. Nearly all the photos were posted in 2017.
Newer photos show a fourth child as well. Similarly, no new photos have been shared publicly since 2018.
A third page for Kristie appears to be the most recent and has photos posted as recently as 2019. It shows four children gathered together in matching pajamas during the holidays. Photos and posts also show at least one of the girls participated in the Middletown Odessa Townsend Youth Football & Cheerleading League.
But aside from what's posted online, few details about the couple are known. Brandon Haas' Facebook profile shows he works as a journeyman in Ironworkers Local 451. He is originally from Middletown, the page says, and went to Middletown High School.
Even less information about Kristie is available.
According to Facebook and public records, she's originally from Bloomington, Indiana, and has also lived in Middletown, Smyrna, Newark and Glen Mills, Pennsylvania.
According to business filings, Kristie Haas opened a business, “KBHAAS DESIGNS,” in August 2020 in Glen Mills. The purpose of the business was listed as “residential home remodeling/renovations.”
She has an extradition hearing on Nov. 4, per court documents. She was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police in Media this week.
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