After police discovered the decapitated girl, they said it was one of the "worst cases" ever seen in Hays County

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Giovanna Larae Hernandez
Credit: Justice for Giovanna/Facebook

A 27-year-old woman was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after she was found guilty of capital murder, according to an article in the Austin American-Statesman.

Krystle Villanueva was arrested on Jan. 5, 2017, after Hays County deputies were called to her home at Kyle, Texas, and discovered she had stabbed and mutilated her 5-year-old daughter, officials told the paper.

“I’ve been in this line of work for over 43 years — 11 years as a homicide detective,” Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler told the newspaper at the time. “This is one of the worst cases I’ve ever seen and been a part of.”

The child’s grandfather Eustorgio Arellano called 911 and told officials Villanueva attacked him from behind without warning, stabbing him in the back and head, according to a statement released by the Hays County District Attorney’s office.

He fled the home, but told deputies she was inside with her daughter. SWAT teams and negotiators were called for a potential hostage situation.

Villanueva called 911 from inside her home and told police she had killed her daughter because “she asked for cereal,” the release stated.

krystle concepcion villanueva
Krystle Villanueva
| Credit: Hayes County Sheriff

When investigators stormed her home, they found Villanueva freshly showered and nude in her front room, officials said. Her daughter was in the bedroom where police found her “stabbed to death and decapitated.”

During the two-week trial, Villanueva’s defense urged the jury to find her not guilty by reason of insanity, according to the district attorney’s office.

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“Ms. Villanueva claimed that, at the time of the attacks, she had been under the delusional belief that her daughter and her father-in-law had been replaced by clones and had to be killed to bring back her real family members,” the press release states.

The jury rejected the insanity plea and found her guilty of capital murder of a child under ten, and she was sentenced to 20 years for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against Arellano.

“A case like this leaves an unforgettable mark on everyone involved, especially the child’s family,” Hays County Criminal District Attorney Wes Mau said. “Every law enforcement member who worked on this case will forever be traumatized by what Ms. Villanueva did to her innocent daughter. I commend all the investigators and officers who endured this horror with calm professionalism so that justice could be done.”