Mother accused of stabbing, mutilating 5-year-old daughter

Credit: KXAN, Giovanna Hernandez, left, and her mother, Krystle Villanueva (Photos via Hays County Sheriff’s Office)

KYLE, Texas (KXAN) — A mother is accused of stabbing her 5-year-old daughter to death at a home in Texas on Thursday, in what Sheriff Gary Cutler called probably the most horrific case in the history of Hays County.

The mother, 24-year-old Krystle Villanueva, has been charged with capital murder for the death of Giovanna Hernandez, who was mutilated, police say.

At 12:51 p.m., Hays County Sheriff’s deputies received a 911 call reporting an aggravated assault at a house on Willow Terrace in the Green Pastures subdivision of Kyle.

Deputies arrived and found 58-year-old Eustorgio Arellano-Uresti in the driveway with multiple stab wounds. A 10-inch-long knife was found in his back left pocket. The man said his daughter-in-law, Villanueva, stabbed him and was alone inside the home with a child.

Hays County SWAT team was called and entered the house, finding Villanueva without any clothes on, having just got out of the shower. She was detained and removed from the house. The SWAT team then found Hernandez dead in a bedroom, according to a police affidavit.

Arellano-Uresti told officers that at around 11 a.m. he walked into the kitchen to make lunch when he saw Villanueva take a knife to a back bedroom. He then heard the child crying. Authorities believe at this time Villanueva was stabbing her daughter. The mother then returned to the kitchen and began stabbing her father-in-law in the back and forehead as he tried to grab the knife, the affidavit continued.

The man was taken to Seton Hays Hospital, treated and released.

He told police that Villanueva used drugs. Her sister told officers that in late 2015 the mother was admitted to a facility in Buda for treatment of substance abuse, including marijuana, crack and meth. While in treatment, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and ADHD, the affidavit stated.

A witness said that after the man exited the home, he saw Villanueva standing outside with a firearm, trying to use it. Arellano-Uresti later told officers that the shotgun kept inside the home was unloaded.

Villanueva has also been charged with aggravated assault, a second degree felony, for injuring Uresti. Sheriff Cutler said Villanueva had only been living in the house for a week.

“This is one of the worst cases I’ve ever seen,” he said. “The suspect has had minor issues with law enforcement in the past, nothing major.”

Neighbors say they haven’t had any problems with those living in the home. “It’s always been peaceful on this street. I’ve never seen them argue or nothing,” said neighbor Martin Garcia.

Police say they do not know exactly if drugs or alcohol were involved in the death until toxicology results are returned in 4-6 weeks.

When asked why it took so long to get to the girl after police were called, Cutler said — based on the information received from Uresti — the decision was made to call out the SWAT team before entering the house.

The bond for Villanueva for the capital murder charge has been set at $800,000, and $300,000 for the aggravated assault charge. Villanueva remains incarcerated in the Hays County Jail.

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