Invisible Children

Ana Loera and three siblings

Content note: Case narratives include descriptions of severe violence inflicted on children, including abuse and neglect, sexual violence, torture, and murder, as well as mentions of suicide and domestic violence. They also include photos of victims and perpetrators of violence.

photo of ana loera


Ana Loera, age 11 (b. 2007, also identified as Anna Loera), was physically abused, medically neglected, and murdered by her adoptive parents, Rafael and Maribel Loera. At the time of her death, she lived with her sisters, K. (b. 2009) and L. (b. 2016),  and her brother R. (b. 2011), who were also reported to have been abused. The eldest three were homeschooled. 

Ana was born Charisma Marquez. Her biological mother, Priscilla Marquez, described her as a “very happy little girl” who was “very spontaneous” and “was going to be a little cheerleader.” Marquez, however, gave her up for adoption as she was struggling with a methamphetamine addiction, and Rafael and Maribel Loera adopted Ana between 2010 and 2014. Initially, the three eldest children attended school but the Loeras soon withdrew them. Their neighbor Claudia reported in 2020 that she used to carpool them until the children “told [her] that they were going to be home-school,” and she hadn’t seen any of them since. In 2014, police received a report which alleged that Rafael and Maribel Loera were physically abusing one of their children, but this case was closed and the claims were declared unsubstantiated. Later, Ana’s siblings reported Maribel Loera had physically abused all of them. Rafael Loera was aware of the abuse but did nothing to stop it. 

In July 2017, Ana became violently ill. Rafael Loera waited several days before taking her to the hospital, but by the time he took her, she was so ill that she passed on the way. Rafael Loera took her body back and hid it in the attic, claiming that he feared he would lose custody of the other children if her death was discovered. The Loeras hid the death from Ana’s siblings and told them she had been adopted and sent to Mexico or Columbia. They successfully hid her death for three years, and police report that no one had seen Ana since 2016. 

On January 20th, 2020, 11-year-old K. called the police after being left at home for two days alone, saying that she was hungry and without food. Arizona Department of Child Safety removed her from the home. Maribel Loera had taken the other two children out of town, but eight days later she returned and child services removed the other two children. An hour later, Rafael Loera set the house on fire with the intent to hide Ana’s remains and die by suicide, though both attempts were unsuccessful. Ana’s autopsy revealed injuries across her body in various stages of healing, confirming the history of abuse prior to her death. Rafael and Maribel Loera were charged with 1st-degree murder, concealment of a dead body, and two counts of child abuse. Rafael Loera has also been charged with arson of an occupied structure. There have been calls for the death penalty, but a decision has not been reported.

Date: July 2017
Location: Phoenix, Arizona 



Documents: Date:
Neighbor says there’s a child unaccounted for after remains were found in Phoenix home 2020-01-31
Parents now charged with murder after child’s remains were found in 2020 house fire 2021-04-02
Fatality Preliminary Report from AZ Department of Child Safety 2021-04-05
Adopted girl in Phoenix case died of abuse, neglect, medical report says 2021-04-23
Case Information from the Judicial Branch of Arizona 2021-11-16
Prosecutors to seek death penalty against Phoenix adoptive parents charged with murder 2022-01-27