School teacher stabbed 37 times, suspect is her son

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Teachers, students mourn

The following update was released by the Pinal County Sheriff's Office on Jan. 28:

At approximately 1100 hours on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 deputies responded to a health and welfare check in the 300 block of Angeline Ave in Queen Creek, upon their arrival and after they received no response, deputies forced entry into the residence and made contact with a male subject later identified as John Valencia, 05/18/1978.Deputies also discovered a deceased female in the residence later positively identified as Zenaida Valencia, 10-17-1941.Later the same evening, John Valencia was arrested and charged with 1st degree murder.

An autopsy performed on 01/22/09 revealed that Zenaida Valencia's death was the result of 37 stab wounds, several which punctured numerous vital organs.

The motive is unknown.


QUEEN CREEK - A Valley man is in custody in connection with the death of his mother, a Catholic school teacher.

Police have identified the vicim as Zanaida Valencia. The 67-year-old taught in Mesa.

Co-workers became concerned when she did not show up for class. When somebody went to check on her, she was found dead inside her house.

While police are continuing with their investigation, they have arrested the victim's son, John Valencia. The 30-year-old now faces murder charges.

While at the Valencia home, investigators found a hole in the backyard. Police are calling that hole a grave.