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Texas woman beheaded daughter, 5, because she asked for cereal: 'Cops found her walking naked in the house'

Villanueva was found guilty of the murder of a child younger than 10-years-old and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against her grandfather and sentenced to life in prison without parole
UPDATED MAR 19, 2020
Krystle Concepcion Villanueva (Hays County Jail)
Krystle Concepcion Villanueva (Hays County Jail)

KYLE, TEXAS: Krystle Concepcion Villanueva, a 27-year-old mother who stabbed and beheaded her five-year-old daughter because "she asked for cereal", has been convicted by a Hays County jury on Thursday, March 5, following a two-week trial.

Villanueva was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after she was found guilty of capital murder. While her defense team conceded that she murdered her daughter and stabbed her father-in-law, they urged the jury to find her not guilty by reason of insanity, prosecutors said. Jurors rejected the defense. 

"Ms Villanueva claimed that, at the time of the attacks, she had been under the delusional belief that her daughter and her father-in-law had been replaced by clones and had to be killed to bring back her real family members," Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau said in a statement.

He said that Villanueva's history with drugs could have also played a role in the killing. "While evidence indicated that Ms Villanueva had been treated previously for mental problems, the prosecution pointed out that all such treatment coincided with prior drug abuse."

Blood testing after her arrest only revealed the presence of alcohol and marijuana. She was arrested on January 5, 2017, after authorities were called to her home at Kyle, Texas, and discovered that she had stabbed and mutilated her five-year-old daughter. 

According to a statement released by the Hays County District Attorney's office, Eustorgio Arellano, the child's grandfather, called 911 and informed officials that Villanueva has attacked him from behind stabbing him in the back and head without any warning.

While he was able to get out of the house, the child was inside. As SWAT teams and crisis negotiators arrived at the scene, Villanueva also called 911 from the house and said that she killed her daughter because "she asked for cereal" and then stabbed her father-in-law. 

"When SWAT operators learned that the child may have been injured or killed, they broke into the home, finding Villanueva nude in the front room, apparently freshly showered," prosecutors said in a statement. "She was restrained and taken into custody."

"I have been in this line of work for over 43 years — 11 years as a homicide detective," Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler was reported saying. "This is one of the worst cases I've ever seen and been a part of."

The team found the child's lifeless body in the bedroom. And while investigators only revealed that she was been "mutilated", it was only during the trial that additional details were revealed. 

Villanueva was found guilty of the murder of a child younger than 10-years-old and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against her grandfather and sentenced to life in prison without parole. 

"A case like this leaves an unforgettable mark on everyone involved, especially the child’s family," Mau said in his statement. "Every law enforcement member who worked on this case will forever be traumatized by what Ms Villanueva did to her innocent daughter. I commend all the investigators and officers who endured this horror with calm professionalism so that justice could be done."