Krystle Villanueva, 24, has been arrested and charged with the mutilation and murder of her 5-year-old daughter in a case police say is one of the “worst ever seen.” The Texas mom could face life in prison or the death penalty on capital murder charges for allegedly stabbing her daughter, Giovanna Larae Hernandez, to death.
Villanueva is also charged with stabbing her father-in-law, Eustorgio Arellano-Uresti, who tried to prevent the attack from happening.
According to KXAN, Arellano-Uresti says that at 11:00 a.m. on January 5 he went the home in Kyle, a town located 25 minutes from Austin, to go make lunch. He says that he saw saw Villanueva take a knife into the back bedroom and then heard Giovanna scream out in pain. When Arellano-Uresti went into the bedroom and tried to grab the weapon from Villanueva, she stabbed him in the forehead and the back. Witness say that they then saw Arellano-Uresti leave the home and Villanueva chase after him with a shotgun that was found not to have been loaded.
Police and the SWAT team were called to the scene, at which point they found Villanueva taking a shower in the bathroom while Giovanna lay dead in the bedroom.
A motive for the crime is still unclear, although friends of Villanueva reported that she suffered from a substance addiction, including alcohol and marijuana. Friends of Villanueva and the entire community were shocked that the young mother, who had just completed a stint in rehab, could have committed the crime.
Villanueva is being held on a $1.1 million bond at the Hays County Jail. Of the total $800,000 is for capital murder charges and $300,000 is for aggravated assault.