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Skeletal remains may belong to abused child

Prosecutors say Phoenix couple have history of abuse

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Prosecutors say the skeletal remains found in a Phoenix couple's home could belong to an abused child. They believe the child's parents are responsible for that abuse.

56-year-old Rafael Loera and his 50-year-old wife, Maribel, faced a judge for the first time on Wednesday. Rafael is charged with concealing human body parts, child abuse, and arson. Maribel is accused of child abuse.

Prosecutors say Loera set fire to the family's house Tuesday, less than an hour after the Arizona Department of Child Services (DCS) took away their four-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son.

A subsequent investigation into the fire revealed the presence of the child's remains. It's still unknown who the body belongs to, or how long it had been hidden in the house.

Prosecutors say Maribael Loera was the primary source of abuse in the family home. They say that "extreme abuse" may have led to the death of at least one child.

DCS removed the Loera's 11-year-old daughter from the home just eight days before the fire, citing "evidence of child abuse."

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Lisa Sturgis

Lisa Sturgis recently returned to KYMA as its Digital Content Director, but she has a long history with the Desert Southwest.

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