PHOENIX (KPHO/KTVK/CNN) - A Phoenix couple faces multiple charges after police determined skeletal remains found in their home belonged to their adoptive daughter, who had not been seen or heard from for two years.
The remains are believed to belong to Ana Loera, who would have 10 years old at the time of her alleged disappearance in 2017. Police confirm the remains had been hidden in the attic of her adoptive parents’ home in Phoenix for more than two years.
The parents, 56-year-old Rafael Loera and 50-year-old Maribel Loera, face a variety of charges, including arson, child abuse and abandonment or concealment of a body.
On Jan. 28, crews were putting out a small fire at the home, allegedly sparked by Rafael Loera, when they pulled insulation from the ceiling and found human bones.
The Loeras’ three children, ages 4, 9 and 11, had been removed from the home by the Department of Child Safety in the days before the fire, amid allegations of child abuse.
The 11-year-old girl called police Jan. 20 saying her adoptive parents left her home alone for two days without food. When taken from the home, she reportedly had scars and burns on her body, and the 9-year-old boy had injuries too numerous to count.
The 11-year-old told police Maribel Loera often beat her with knotted extension cords. She also talked about her sister, Ana, whom she had been told had been adopted two years prior.
Court records indicate investigators spoke to Rafael Loera, who said Ana got sick in July 2017 and died on the way to the hospital. Neither he nor Maribel Loera contacted authorities about her death. They are accused of wrapping the girl’s body in a sheet and leaving it in the attic.
The Loeras made their first court appearances last Wednesday afternoon. A judge ordered Maribel Loera held on a $350,000 cash-only bond and Rafael Loera held on a $100,000 cash-only bond.
More charges are likely to be filed against the couple, as the investigation continues.