Cops: Man kills wife, 6-year-old girl in Idaho

CBS News

POST FALLS, Idaho - Police have arrested a 24-year-old man after finding the bodies of his wife and her 6-year-old daughter in their shared northern Idaho apartment, reports The Spokesman-Review. A police report states the suspect told a friend he "had to kill" the young girl.

Angel Albertico Morales-Larranaga, of Post Falls, was taken into custody around noon on Tuesday, according to the paper. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Facunda Velenzuelaleon, 24, and Dayana M. Valencia, 6. He is being held on $2 million bail.

Authorities said the suspect removed his own two young daughters from the household before returning to commit the killings. Court records state Morales-Larranaga may have been upset over his wife's infidelity and that he had self-inflicted cuts on his wrists when he was arrested.

A family friend told police that Velenzuelaleon, also known as Rhianna, confessed to her husband that she had been unfaithful during a recent trip to California. The suspect, originally from Mexico, allegedly told the same friend Tuesday morning that he had strangled his wife.

According to a Post Falls police report, when the friend asked Morales-Larranaga about the 6-year-old girl, he responded, "She got up and started hitting me, so I had to kill her too."

The Spokesman-Review reports police arrested the suspect in his SUV at an intersection in town Tuesday. Around noon, detectives entered the apartment and found Velenzuelaleon dead on a bed.

A detective wrote in a report that she "appeared to have been severely beaten around the head and face area as it appeared distorted in size and shape with swelling and bruising.... The wrists of both arms had been deeply sliced through with a knife/cutting instrument." The victim also reportedly showed severe signs of manual strangulation.

The detective noted the young girl's body was found in another bedroom with an electrical cord tightly wrapped around her neck and cut marks on her neck, throat and chin, according to the paper. The report states a serrated knife with blood and hair on it was found in the same room.

The family friend who called police said Morales-Larranaga called him around 2 a.m. Tuesday to talk, then brought his two daughters - ages 1 and 3 - to his house. The Spokesman-Review reports the suspect then left the house and returned to his apartment.

Morales-Larranaga made no statement in court Wednesday, where he appeared via a video feed from jail. Through a Spanish interpreter, he acknowledged that he understood the charges against him and the potential sentence of the death penalty or life in prison, according to the paper.

A preliminary hearing will be held within two weeks.