Court Documents: Father kept adoptive girl's 2017 death a secret, stashed body in attic

New details on human remains that were found inside a home near 59th Avenue and Camelback emerged on Monday.

On January 20, police say an 11-year-old girl called them, saying she was home alone. When officers arrived at the scene, they found evidence of child abuse. The Arizona Department of Child Safety then removed the child from the residence.

Investigators returned to the home a week ago and removed two other small children. About an hour later, firefighters responded to a call regarding reports of smoke coming from the residence.

"Phoenix Fire Department gets out here, they make entry, extinguish the fire, and when they are in, they discover what they believe to be skeletal remains," said Sgt. Margaret Cox with Phoenix Police.

The 11-year-old's parents, identified as 56-year-old Rafael Loera and 50-year-old Maribel Loera, were arrested and booked into jail. Both are accused of child abuse, as well as concealment of a dead body.


Rafael Loera (left) and Maribel Loera (right)

On Monday, FOX 10 learned that Rafael admitted to police that the remains belonged to an adopted child.

According to court documents, the remains are that of an 11-year-old girl. Rafael says the girl died on the way to the hospital in 2017. Fearing the other children would be taken away, Rafael told detectives he went back home, wrapped the body in a sheet, and placed it in the attic.

"The body of the deceased child continued to lay there while the family lived in the residence for another two years," read a portion of the court documents.

Court documents also state Rafael felt hopeless and decided to remove the child's bones from the attic, place them in the backyard, and set the house on fire.

FOX 10 has reached out to DCS to find out more about their involvement in the case.