Sheriff Says Hill Country Woman "Mutilated," Stabbed 5-Year-Old Daughter to Death

Krystle Villanueva, 24, has been charged with capital murder in the stabbing death of her 5 year old daughter - Hays County Sheriff's Office
Hays County Sheriff's Office
Krystle Villanueva, 24, has been charged with capital murder in the stabbing death of her 5 year old daughter
A woman in the Texas Hill Country has been charged with stabbing her 5 year old daughter to death in what the local sheriff says is probably the most horrific crime his county's history.

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."


Since 1986, the SA Current has served as the free, independent voice of San Antonio, and we want to keep it that way.

Becoming an SA Current Supporter for as little as $5 a month allows us to continue offering readers access to our coverage of local news, food, nightlife, events, and culture with no paywalls.

Join today to keep San Antonio Current.

Scroll to read more San Antonio News articles

Join SA Current Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.