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On the 27th of April, 2017, 4-year-old Jace Higginbotham was picked up by his grandparent’s, Joseph and Charlotte Doll. The couple had agreed to look after Jace for the day while his mother went to nursing school. They took their young grandson to their home, which was just a couple of blocks away in Brookfield, Colorado. Also living in the Doll’s residence, was their son, 25-year-old Emanuel Doll - the twin brother of Jace’s mother.

They arrived back home with little Jace in tow at around 8:30am. This was a routine he knew well. His mother was training to become a nurse so he would frequently be babysat by his doting grandparents. As Charlotte and Jace played around on the iPad, at around 9am, Emanuel made his way down to the basement. Shortly afterwards, he called Jace to come down - he had something to show him. Not long after Jace excitedly ran down to the basement to see what his uncle had for him, Charlotte heard some odd sounds coming from down below. She later recollected that it sounded like “a pillowcase loaded with items hitting the floor.” She called down to her son and grandson and asked what that bizarre sound was to which Emanuel replied “nothing….”

Assuming nothing was awry, Charlotte and Joseph carried on with their daily duties. Even though Emanuel had some anger issues, he always got on well with Jace. Emanuel then made his way up from the basement and walked straight out the back door. Wondering where Jace was, his grandparents called for him before going down into the basement, assuming he was preoccupied with whatever Emanuel had shown him. As the couple crept down the stairs, they were met by an unimaginable scene. There was blood spatter over the walls and on the floor. Lying motionless on his back surrounded by a pool of his own blood was 4-year-old Jace. Beside him lay his iPad and a discarded bloody axe.

Joseph rushed to the phone to call 911, exclaiming that his son had just murdered his grandson. When police arrived, they found Jace with a “massive amount of trauma.” He was pronounced dead at the scene. Emanuel was pacing around the back garden, wearing the same blood stained clothes he was wearing when he committed the brutal act. An investigation uncovered that police had been called to the residence on several occasions. Emanuel had once slapped his mother after he saw her partially naked after getting out of the shower and on another occasion, he broke windows at a nearby apartment complex before throwing stones at police officers but nothing that could have hinted towards him being capable of such violence and brutality.

Emanuel was charged with two counts of first-degree murder. The second count is due to the fact that Emanuel was in a position of trust in relation to Jace. He is currently awaiting trial and these charges carry a sentence of life imprisonment or the death penalty.