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Who was Ana Loera? Body of Arizona girl, 10, missing for 3 years found in attic after house fire, parents charged

After the Arizona Department of Child Safety took three children away from foster parents Maribel and Rafael Loera, firefighters were called to the residence for a house fire, and there they found the body of Ana Loera
Maribel and Rafael Loera were charged with murder on April 2 (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Maribel and Rafael Loera were charged with murder on April 2 (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

PHOENIX, ARIZONA: The remains of a missing girl was found in the attic of a home after the house caught fire. The dead girl's parents have since been charged with murder, among a slew of other charges. 

According to ABC15, Maribel and Rafael Loera had already been charged with arson, child abuse, concealing a dead body, and endangerment back in January 2020. The murder charges were slammed against the parents on Good Friday, April 2, after bones discovered in their attic last year were believed to be that of Ana Loera. The cops were called to the home for a child abuse investigation with one of the Loeras' foster children making the call. She alleged negligence and abuse from the couple and also revealed she had a big sister who was "adopted" and sent off to Colombia, according to Maribel, and Mexico, according to Rafael. This sibling is believed to be the dead girl Ana Loera.


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Who was Ana Loera?

All of 10 at the time, the little girl went missing from Phoenix, Arizona, in 2017. Ana had been missing for three years, before her foster sister called the cops on January 20, 2020, to report that she's been alone for two days and was hungry. When police arrived at the house, they saw everything in "disarray" and human feces all over the floors. Just a week later, firefighters were called to the residence for a housefire; when they reached, they found the attic was charred, and inside the drywall was the disturbing find. 

Based on what Ana's foster father Rafael had told the cops at the time of the find, Ana had been convulsing and vomiting on the way to the hospital, before she died. Rafael confessed he had waited for several days as Ana became ill before taking her to the hospital. Worrying that this might get their other foster children taken away, the couple had bundled up Ana's dead body and hidden it in the attic. The death has since been called a homicide. 

Discovering Ana's bones

When cops were called last year, Ana's foster sister also told them their mother Maribel was in Minnesota at the time, with her younger siblings, a 4-year-old girl and 9-year-old boy. The Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) who had answered the call, had immediately taken the child into their custody, and returned a week later to take away the other two children too. Shortly after the officials left, emergency services were called to the house for an alleged fire. When the fire crew investigated the attic and pulled down drywall and ventilation, they found human bones.


Rafael had confessed to cops that after DCS took the last two children, he felt "hopeless" and tried to set the house on fire. So he pulled out Ana's body from the attic where they had hidden it, poured gasoline all around the fireplace and set it ablaze. Rafael allegedly wanted to kill himself but his neighbors called in an emergency upon spotting the flames. The firefighters arrived and stripped down the attic to recover the dead girl's remains. 

Abuse of other children

Police reports from the time reveal that the 11-year-old who had made the call, had “numerous abrasions, scars, healed burn scars, injuries to her back, buttocks, abdomen and chin." Her foster brother had injuries all over his body, including cuts and abrasions on his face and “loop marks on his legs, injuries too numerous to count."

DCS told ABC15 that they had no clue Ana was missing for years because once a child is adopted, there's no more involvement of the department. "Arizona has laws that require some professionals, such as teachers, doctors, police officers, to report abuse or neglect," a spokesperson told the outlet. "We ask that if you reasonably suspect that a child is being abused or neglected report it to DCS at 888-SOS-CHILD (888-767-2445)."