HOUSTON — It's hard to miss Emma Thompson's sweet smile, beaming from a field of bluebonnets.
"Emma was a firecracker, she would have been 14 this year," said Laurie Thompson, her paternal grandmother.
She's forced to relive the nightmare of her granddaughter's death every time she contacts family and friends to help fight parole.
"That's a slap in the face to us as a family and to anyone who has suffered a loss like ours," Thompson said.
Ten years ago, Emma's death made front page headlines. The 4-year-old was sexually abused and beaten.
Her mother, Abigail Young, was sentenced to 20 years and her boyfriend, Lucas Coe, got life in prison.
"We see ourselves as a voice for Emma," she said.
In 2013, Emma's Law was passed. It kept her mom, who was convicted of a lesser offense, from coming up for parole every year. Instead the parole board could choose to review it every five years.
"It was a real gift for us in a lot of ways," Thompson said.
However, now because Young's served almost half her sentence, she's eligible for yearly reviews again, superseding Emma's Law.
"There's no reason in the world we should be doing this every year, it's a waste of everybody's time, resources and energy," said Andy Kahan, Director of Victims Services at Crime Stoppers.
Kahan says Emma's case is strikingly similar to one that's dominated recent headlines.
"Before there was Maleah Davis, there was Emma Thompson," he said.
This grandmother says it's important these little girls are not forgotten.
"Texas cares about its weakest and most vulnerable and we are not going to allow the judicial system to sweep it under the rug anymore," she said.
Kahan told us he plans to start working to get another law passed to make sure more cases don't fall into the same loophole.
If you would like to send a letter to the parole board for this case, you can email email@example.com or fax (512) 452-0825.
You can also mail letters to:
Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice
Victim Services Division
8712 Shoal Creek Blvd., Ste. 265
Austin, TX 78757
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