PHOENIX — -The two parents accused of hiding a child’s remains in their Phoenix attic have been indicted by a grand jury. Rafael Loera, 56, and Maribel Loera, 50, are facing arson and child abuse charges.
According to police, the child’s remains had been hidden in the attic for more than two years. New evidence presented to the grand jury highlights several disturbing allegations of child abuse.
Prosecutors say the abuse included blows to the head and several instances in which the child was hit with an extension cord. Prosecutors claim the Loeras knowingly moved and concealed the child’s body and started the fire to cover their tracks.
On Jan. 20, Phoenix police responded to the home near 59th Avenue and Camelback Road for a welfare check after an 11-year-old girl had called police saying she was home alone. Officers found evidence of child abuse, and the girl was taken into the Department of Child Safety’s custody.
DCS learned that other children lived in the home although they were not there that at the time, and their investigation continued. Just a week later (Jan. 28), DCS said they returned to the house to take two other children, a 9-year-old boy and a 4 year-old girl, due to the ongoing child abuse investigation.
Just an hour later, the Phoenix Fire Department responded for a call of smoke coming from the house. Firefighters entered the home and found skeletal remains of a child. The Phoenix Fire Department’s investigation task force believed the fire was set intentionally.
During police questioning, the Loeras claimed to officers that the child had been sick and died due to an illness. Court paperwork released Monday seemed to contradict their claims. Rafael and Maribel Loera are due back in court on Feb. 13.