PHOENIX — A woman who lives near the parents arrested after child remains were found in their Phoenix home told ABC15 the couple has four children, and they were all adopted.
Maribel and Rafael Loera are charged with child abuse. Rafael Loera is also accused of hiding child remains and setting his house on fire.
The neighbor, Claudia, said her family has been living by the Loreas for about a decade.
"We would hear them every now and then in the backyard, sometimes in the pool," she said. "I remember the little one saying, 'Now we have a mama and papa.' They were all together -- brothers and sisters and were happy because they didn't have to be apart."
Claudia said a few years ago, she briefly carpooled with the Loeras and drove their three oldest kids to a local elementary school. She said the fourth child was just a baby.
"We would drop off two girls and then maybe like a week later, a young boy. He started kindergarten, I remember because he was really small. And all of a sudden they told us they were going to be home-schooled and we haven't seen them ever since," said Claudia.
Claudia said they haven't seen the children in several years. She would see Rafael outside every now and then, but said she would rarely see his wife.
"I'm in shock and now I'm wondering, there's three kids, where's the other one? I don't know, I honestly don't know," said Claudia.
Claudia said she fears the remains could belong to the daughter that's been unaccounted for.
"Why would you do that? Get kids and not take care of them?" she said.
The Department of Child Safety says the couple has 11- and 4-year-old girls and a 9-year-old boy.
ABC15 reached out to DCS several times to ask about the fourth child and whether the kids were adopted. A spokesperson sent us this statement:
"We can’t release any additional information at this time due to confidentiality laws."
Right now, neither parent has been charged with murder, but police and prosecutors have said that could change depending on the autopsy results from the remains.