5-year-old killed in Kyle laid to rest, mother in custody

Giovanna Hernandez remembered at funeral services in Buda. (KXAN Photo/Todd Bailey)
Giovanna Hernandez remembered at funeral services in Buda. (KXAN Photo/Todd Bailey)

KYLE, Texas (KXAN) — A 5-year-old girl killed in Kyle last week was laid to rest on Tuesday morning.

Police say Giovanna Hernandez was stabbed to death by her mother, Krystle Villanueva, who is charged with capital murder. Sheriff Gary Cutler said this case is probably the most horrific in the history of Hays County.

Funeral services for Giovanna began at Santa Cruz Catholic Church in Buda at 10 a.m. A steady stream of people made their way into the church. A mixture of family, friends and even strangers arrived to show their condolences.

“It was very sad for me because I would see that little girl playing outside happy. It’s a big loss and that loss will stay with us forever. I just can’t sleep after that day happened, I just can’t sleep,” said neighbor Mary Jenkins.

Jenkins recalls seeing the girl playing in the front yard of the home last Wednesday, a day before she was murdered.

“It is very, very painful and very sad and the memories are going to stay there forever. I will leave here on this earth, but those memories are going to stay here,” said Jenkins.

Giovanna was laid to rest at a cemetery in Reedville, just outside of San Marcos, after the ceremony.

Giovanna Hernandez, left, and her mother, Krystle Villanueva (Photos via Hays County Sheriff's Office)
Giovanna Hernandez, left, and her mother, Krystle Villanueva (Photos via Hays County Sheriff’s Office)

On Jan. 5, deputies arrived and found 58-year-old Eustorgio Arellano-Uresti in the driveway with multiple stab wounds. A 10-inch-long knife was found in his back left pocket. The man said his daughter-in-law, Villanueva, stabbed him and was alone inside the home with a child.

Arellano-Uresti told officers that at around 11 a.m. he walked into the kitchen to make lunch when he saw Villanueva take a knife to a back bedroom. He then heard the child crying. Authorities believe at this time Villanueva was stabbing her daughter. The mother returned to the kitchen and began stabbing her father-in-law in the back and forehead as he tried to grab the knife, the affidavit continued.

Hays County SWAT team was called and entered the house, finding Villanueva without any clothes on, having just got out of the shower. The SWAT team then found Giovanna dead and mutilated in a bedroom, according to a police affidavit.

Hays County investigators don’t know if Villanueva was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time Giovanna was killed. According to police, Villanueva had a history with marijuana, crack and meth. Investigators are waiting for toxicology results, which could take up to six weeks.

“She was just a precious little girl. She didn’t have a care in the world. She loved to play tag. She loved a lot of things,” cried Sabrine Sifuentez, a family friend of the Villanueva’s. “I just can’t believe she’s gone.”

Friends say they never thought Villanueva could do this to her little girl. They claim the mother went to rehab and came out clean with a new job.

Villanueva remains incarcerated in the Hays County Jail charged with capital murder and aggravated assault. At this time, no court dates have been set as authorities wait on an indictment.

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