Adopted girl in Phoenix case died of abuse, neglect, medical report says

Apr 23, 2021, 12:02 PM | Updated: 2:48 pm

Rafael and Maribel Loera...

Rafael and Maribel Loera (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photos)

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photos)

PHOENIX – The adopted girl whose skeletal remains were discovered by firefighters at a west Phoenix home last year died of physical abuse and neglect, according to a report released Friday by the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The report lists Anna Loera’s cause of death as “child abuse, including acute and chronic skeletal injuries and neglect” and the manner of death as “homicide.” (Note: Her name has been spelled Ana in police press releases; authorities didn’t respond to KTAR News 92.3 FM‘s request for clarification.)

Her adoptive parents, 57-year-old Rafael Loera and 51-year-old Maribel Loera, were indicted last month for first-degree murder in the case.

A grand jury also indicted the couple for abandonment or concealment of a dead body and two counts each of child abuse. Rafael faces an additional count of arson of an occupied structure.

The Loeras were initially arrested on Jan. 28, 2020, after firefighters found remains after responding to a 911 call about a house fire near 59th Avenue and Camelback Road.

Anna, who would have been 13 at the time her bones were discovered, was the oldest of the Loeras’ four adopted children. The Medical Examiner’s Office report estimated her age at the time she died as 10-12.

Her bones had multiple fractures at various stages of healing, according to the report, which is dated May 28, 2020. The examination was conducted in the days after her remains were found.

The Arizona Department of Child Safety first responded to the home a week before the fire after an 11-year-old girl called 911 and said she’d been left there alone for two days.

The officers found evidence of child abuse and took the girl, the only child at the residence that day, into custody.

During a follow-up visit less than an hour before the fire, DCS removed the other two kids, a 9-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl.

Rafael initially told investigators Anna had moved to Mexico, but he later said the girl died in July 2017 after becoming ill, according to police. Court records, however, list the date of all the crimes except arson as May 1, 2016.

Prosecutors said Rafael confessed to setting the fire in an effort to end his life and burn the house down.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Seniors in Sun City invited to dance the night away at prom event...

Serena O'Sullivan

Sun City senior center to host prom to fight loneliness, keep older locals healthy

Loneliness can be deadly. That's why Banner Health is inviting seniors in Sun City to join its first prom event for people over 60.

19 minutes ago

A house is blackened after a fire involving two homemade electric vehicles in Phoenix on June 18, 2...

2 homemade electric vehicles catch fire inside garage at Phoenix home

Firefighters doused two homemade electric vehicles that were on fire in the garage of a Phoenix home on Tuesday morning.

53 minutes ago

Stations are set up at an otherwise empty Maricopa County vote center. Maricopa County will operate...

Kevin Stone

Maricopa County reveals more than 220 vote center locations for July 30 primary election

Maricopa County revealed more than 220 vote center locations for the July 30 primary election. Here's how to find one near you.

1 hour ago

Warning label on social media? Arizona experts respond to idea...

Serena O'Sullivan

How could a social media warning label impact Arizona children and teens?

The Surgeon General of the U.S. said on Monday he wants a warning label on social media apps because they hurt young people's mental health.

3 hours ago

Two men are seen with stand-up paddle boards at Tempe Town Lake in this file photo. A search was la...

Body found during recovery operation at Tempe Town Lake

Dive teams on Tuesday morning reportedly recovered the body of a person who apparently drowned at Tempe Town Lake a day earlier.

4 hours ago

Vista of red rocks in Sedona. A Pennsylvania woman hiking with her husband and young daughters died...

Pennsylvania mom hiking with family dies on Sedona trail

A Pennsylvania woman hiking with her husband and young daughters died on a trail in Sedona, authorities said Monday.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

Adopted girl in Phoenix case died of abuse, neglect, medical report says