- Hays County Sheriff's Office
- Krystle Villanueva, 24, has been charged with capital murder in the stabbing death of her 5 year old daughter
Hays County prosecutors charged 24-year-old Krystle Villanueva with capital murder after her 5-year-old daughter Giovanna Hernandez was found stabbed to death in the family's trailer on Thursday. Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler, in a press conference livestreamed by Austin TV station KXAN (which you can view here), said Villanueva's father-in-law had called 911 to say she'd attacked and stabbed him and that he worried about the safety of the girl inside.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit obtained by KXAN, the father-in-law told investigators he'd walked into the kitchen to make lunch that day when he saw Villanueva grab a knife and take it into the back bedroom. That's when he heard the girl crying. When Villanueva came out the bedroom, she began stabbing her father-in-law, who sustained wounds to his back and forehead. KXAN reports that the woman went to rehab for drug addiction in 2015, and while in treatment was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and ADHD.
Sheriff Cutler said deputies who responded to the trailer, on the eastern edge of Hays County, decided to wait for a SWAT team to arrive before entering the home. When they did, according to the arrest warrant affidavit, Villanueva had just gotten out of the shower and wasn't wearing any clothes. They eventually found the girl in the bedroom dead from multiple stab wounds. Cutler said the 5 year old had been "mutilated." He called it "one of the worst cases I've seen" and "probably the most horrific case in Hays County history."
In the press conference, Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau said Villanueva's been charged with both capital murder and aggravated assault. Mau said his office won't make a decision on whether to seek the death penalty "until we have all the facts before us."