Couple in Phoenix skeletal remains case plead not guilty
PHOENIX – The couple who lived in a Phoenix home where the skeletal remains of an adopted girl were discovered last month pleaded not guilty on multiple charges Thursday.
Rafael Loera, 56, and Maribel Loera, 50, had been the subjects of a child abuse investigation when the remains were found Jan. 28 by firefighters responding to a report of smoke at their home near 59th Avenue and Camelback Road.
During Rafael Loera’s initial court appearance, prosecutor Sarah Corcoran said he confessed to setting the fire in an effort to end his life and burn the house down.
The charges in the case include child abuse, arson and concealing remains.
Rafael Loera previously told police that their 11-year-old daughter Ana became ill in July 2017 and that he waited several days before trying to seek medical attention.
Police also say Rafael Loera told them the child died on the way to the hospital and that the death wasn’t reported out of fear that their other adopted children would be taken away by the state.
The couple hasn’t been charged in the death of the girl, though prosecutors will decide whether to file additional charges once the child’s cause of death has been determined.
The couple remains jailed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.