A married couple has been arrested after the remains of a little girl were recovered in an attic of a home that burned down.
The grisly discovery was made days after an 11-year-old girl called police on January 20 and said she was home alone.
When police responded, they found evidence of child abuse and the Arizona Department of Child Safety removed the girl from the home.
Investigators returned on January 28 and removed two other children, aged four and nine.
An hour after the children were removed from the home, firefighters were called to the residence when they received reports of smoke coming from the house.
ABC15 reports the remains of the girl were found by firefighters when they removed some drywall while moving through the house.
It was then homicide detectives attached to the City of Phoenix Police Department took the mother and father into custody – identified as Rafael and Maribel Loera.
Mr Loera faces charges related to concealing human body parts, endangerment, child abuse and arson and Ms Loera faces child abuse charges.
Mr Loera told police it was his wife who allegedly abused the children, and said he never reported the abuse out of fear his wife would hurt him, according to AZ Family.
The couple had an adoptive daughter who would now be 13-years-old, but she has not been seen or heard from since 2017. The medical examiner will work to officially determine the identity of the remains.
Mr Loera at first told investigators his adoptive daughter no longer lived with him and his family, however he later admitted she was deceased.
Court documents obtained by AZ Family identify the adoptive daughter as Ana Loera, also known as Charisma Marquez.
Ana reportedly became ill in 2017 and died on the way to hospital after Mr Loera allegedly waited days before seeking medical help.
Her death was never reported, as the couple feared the other children would be taken away.
Court records also show the couple adopted another child months after Ana’s presumed death.
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