Skeletal remains found after house fire

Rafael Loera, 56, and Maribel Loera, 50, of Phoenix, Arizona. [Image credit: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office]


On January 20th a call came into emergency dispatchers from an 11-year-old girl that said she was home alone and scared.


Police responded to the Phoenix residence and found signs of child abuse.  The girl was removed from the home and placed into the care of Arizona Department of Child Safety.


On Tuesday the 28th, DCS returned to the residence with a court order to remove two other children. a 9-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl, that they had since learned also lived at the home.


"We removed the first child from a home near 59th Avenue and Camelback on January 20, 2020 after Phoenix Police Department discovered her alone on a welfare check," DCS confirmed in a statement released Wednesday.


"After removal of the first child, DCS learned of additional children that were not present in the home on January 20th" and removed them Tuesday after getting court authorization, the statement said.


An hour after the boy and girl were removed from the home, the Phoenix Fire Department was dispatched to the residence for a report of smoke.


Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the flames and in checking to make sure there were no hot spots, found skeletal remains secreted in the attic behind drywall.


56-year-old Rafael Loera and his wife, 50-year-old Maribel Loera were both arrested.


Sargent Maggie Cox of the Phoenix Police Department said, "Investigators learned that Rafael and Maribel Loera were responsible for the fire and abuse of the young victims."


Rafael has been charged with suspicion of concealing human body parts, endangerment, child abuse and arson.  Prosecutor Sarah Corcoran said that Rafael has allegedly confessed to starting the fire in an attempt to take his own life and to burn the residence down.


"He is alleged to have done nothing to prevent the abuse of the victims although he allegedly admitted that he knew that it was happening and he allegedly admitted that he left the victims in the care of the co-suspect knowing that the abuse was happening," Corcoran said, adding, according to AZ Central, that he confessed to hiding the corpse.


Maribel has been charged with suspicion of child abuse.


"She allegedly participated in concealing the body of a deceased child in the family home to conceal any questioning into what happened to that child," prosecutor Sarah Corcoran said.


The medical examiner is working to establish age and cause of death.  The investigation is ongoing.


Rafael as assigned a $100,000 cash-only bond, and Maribel was given a $350,000 cash-only bond.  Both were told they would be electronically monitored if they were to be released and have been ordered to have no contact with any alleged victims, officers involved, or even each other.



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