Police in Casa Grande, Arizona have arrested a mother, 35-year-old Connie Villa, and charged her with the first-degree murder of her teenage daughter on Christmas Day. Police say she may have also intended to kill her ex-husband and her three additional young children.
According to police, Villa invited her ex-husband, 33-year-old Alex Villa, to her apartment on Christmas Day, apparently intent on taking his life. Villa allegedly stabbed her ex-husband multiple times in and around his mid-section before he was able to escape and drive himself to Casa Grande Medical Center and notify police with a call to 911. He remains hospitalized in stable condition.
When police arrived at Villa’s apartment, they report having forced the door open to find Villa holding a knife and suffering what appeared to have been self-inflicted stab wounds. Villa’s 13-year old daughter, Aniarael Macias was found dead in the bathroom of the family’s apartment on the fateful Christmas Day but had no visible injures. Villa’s three other children, ages eight, five and three were found in the apartment as well, also without visible injuries. They were subsequently taken to a local hospital for treatment, however, and medical professionals report having found “trace amounts of opiates” in their systems.
Villa was transported to a different Phoenix-area hospital than her ex-husband and was released this morning to police custody, she was subsequently charged with the Christmas Day murder of her daughter and four counts of attempted murder for her alleged attacks on her ex-husband and three younger children.
The police now suspect Villa of attempting to kill all of her children by poisoning on Christmas Day. An autopsy performed on the deceased Aniarael was inconclusive, though police suspect that she may have been poisoned with some type of prescription medication. They report that evidence found at the scene and interviews with her ex-husband and the three additional children support this conclusion.
One neighbor, Esther Molina, reports having heard Alex Villa arrive at the apartment and knock but was unable to offer any knowledge as to what may have happened inside the apartment. Other neighbors say that they had no idea what was going on inside the apartment when emergency personnel arrived. One person said they suspected it was “a Christmas tree fire or something like that.” Residents of the Colony Apartments report being shocked by the news and that the Villas, who had just recently moved in, had “seemed like a nice family.”
Police have not yet released a theory as to a possible motive behind Villa’s actions.Their investigation is ongoing as they are now waiting for the results of toxicology screens from both Villa’s deceased daughter and each of her three younger children. Additional charges could be filed against Villa.
The three surviving children were placed into the custody of Child Protective Services and have been temporarily placed in the care of members of Adam Villa’s family, pending his expected recovery from his injuries.
As the police investigation continues more details are sure to emerge regarding this apparently disturbed mother’s alleged murder of her 13-year-old daughter on Christmas Day, though no amount of discovery can offer sufficient comfort to young Aniarael’s loved ones at this difficult time.
By Michele Wessel