PHOENIX — An Arizona woman tried to fatally stab her ex-husband and poison her four children with prescription narcotic drugs, including a teenage daughter who was found dead in her home on Christmas Day, police said on Monday.
She lured the man to her apartment and stabbed him repeatedly before he was able to flee and drive himself to a hospital while calling 911.
Connie Villa, 35, was arrested on Sunday after being released from a hospital on suspicion of one count of first-degree murder and four counts of attempted murder in the Christmas Day attack in Casa Grande, about 50 miles south of Phoenix.
It was not immediately known whether she had an attorney. A possible motive hasn’t been disclosed, but investigators have found no history of mental illness or previous calls to the home during their initial probe. The investigation was ongoing.
According to authorities, the ex-husband, Adam Villa, called 911 after fleeing the apartment with multiple stab wounds. He remained hospitalized on Monday in stable condition. Responding officers found the body of Aniarael Macias, 13, lying on a bathroom floor, said Casa Grande police Officer Thomas Anderson.
The body had no visible signs of injury or trauma, and an autopsy report was inconclusive on the cause of death, Anderson said.
Authorities are awaiting toxicology results, which could take up to a month, but they believe she was likely poisoned.
The three other children, ages 3, 5 and 8, were in good condition. Anderson said initial tests show each child had trace amounts of opiates in their systems.
Authorities would only say the drugs found in the apartment were “prescription narcotics.”
“Our investigation indicates Connie Villa forced her children to take prescription narcotic drugs in an attempt to kill them,” police said in a statement.
Upon arriving at the home on Wednesday, police were forced to break in and found Connie Villa standing in the apartment with what appeared to be self-inflicted stab wounds to her torso, a knife in her hand and the three young children at her side.
The 13-year-old was found dead during a search of the home.
Connie Villa had apparently enticed her ex-husband to come by intending to kill him, too, Anderson said.
“He was lured to the apartment, under what pretense we don’t know yet, but we don’t have any indication he had any fear of going over there,” Anderson added.
The three surviving children have been placed by Child Protective Service’s with Adam Villa’s family. He was not the father of the 13-year-old, police said.
“She was a gentle, kind and beautiful spirit who was taken from us too soon,” family members of Aniarael Macias said in a statement.
In 2006, happier times seemed apparent in the Villa household as Adam Villa returned from a one-year deployment to Iraq with the Arizona Army National Guard.
When he stepped off the plane upon his return, Connie Villa broke into tears.
“Just to know he’s safe and in one piece, just to smell him,” she told The Arizona Republic at the time. “I just want to be normal again and have a family.”
AP researcher Barbara Sambriski contributed to this report.