Mother arrested in Casa Grande child homicide on Christmas

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. -- Police have arrested the mother of the 13-year-old girl who was found dead in her Casa Grande apartment on Christmas Day.

Connie Villa, 35, was arrested about 9 a.m. Sunday at Maricopa Medical Center where she was being treated for stab wounds that investigators believe were self-inflicted.

Casa Grande police officers responded to a 911 call about a domestic dispute at the Colony Apartments on East Doan Street on Wednesday. The caller, 33-year-old Adam Villa, said his ex-wife stabbed him and he was driving himself to Casa Grande Regional Medical Center.

Officers forced entry into the apartment where they found Connie Villa and three of her kids, ages 3, 5 and 8.

Police said she had stab wounds to her upper torso and was holding a knife to her chest. Her kids were at her side.

Officers subdued Connie Villa and, while controlling the scene, discovered her oldest daughter, Aniarael Macias, in the bathroom.

Medics responded and pronounced Aniarael dead at the scene.

Adam Villa and Connie Villa were taken to separate Phoenix area hospitals for treatment. The children were also transported to a hospital for evaluation.

Police said the investigation indicates that Connie Villa forced her children to take prescription narcotic drugs in attempt to kill them. She also allegedly lured her ex-husband to the apartment and stabbed him repeatedly in the upper torso.

Police said Aniarael did not have apparent injuries and an autopsy conducted in Pima County on Saturday did not identify a cause of death.

The surviving children were found with traces of opiates in their systems, according to police.

Investigators are waiting for toxicology reports for Macias and the surviving children, which could take two to three weeks.

Although the cause of death is not yet known, investigators say the evidence found at the scene along with the interviews and medical information from the surviving children gave the department probable cause to believe Connie Villa was attempting to kill her family.

Police said the children are in good condition and were placed in the custody of Adam Villa's family by Child Protective Services.

Adam Villa is still recovering at a Phoenix area hospital and was in stable condition Sunday, police said.

According to Casa Grande police, Adam Villa is not Aniarael's biological father. Police said her father was notified and is working closely with investigators.

The investigation is ongoing. At the completion of the investigation, the Pinal County Attorney's Office will review the evidence for potential charges.

"In the meantime, prosecutors are prepared to file the necessary documents and present evidence necessary for the court to hold Villa in custody until the investigation is complete and formal charges are filed," according to a statement from Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles.

Statement from Macias family

"On behalf of Michael Macias, Ania’s father, Vera Macias, Ania’s grandmother and extended family, we request that the focus of this tragedy be a celebration of our precious Ania’s life. She was a gentle, kind and beautiful spirit who was taken from us much too soon. Michael and his family are heartbroken. Ania was always smiling. She loved her brothers and sisters. She enjoyed spending time with her father and sister Gaby. We are writing this statement in hopes that the media and other outlets will allow Michael and our family to grieve peacefully. We thank everyone for the outpouring of support for our family. We appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts. We pray that justice will be served."