Pleasantville woman charged in killing of two daughters


A Pleasantville woman is charged with murder in the deaths of her young daughters in Arizona.
Retta Cruse, 35, is accused of killing the girls, ages 9 and 4, who were found dead in a bed inside the Phoenix home where they were living with their mother and younger girl’s father.
Cruse is believed to have drugged Aleyah and her little sister, Royal, and then stabbed herself several times.
The woman barricaded herself in a room, and there was reportedly a note that explained what happened.

The deaths of Aleyah, 9, and 4-year-old Royal have devastated their families.

“The girls were found on one bed, facing each other, with their arms around each other as though they had been placed into this position,” police wrote in the probable cause for arrest statement, Arizona’s Family reporter. “There were no obvious injuries to either girl.”
Toxicology results are pending, but investigators believe Cruse used prescription and over-the-counter medication to sedate and overdose the girls.
A prescription pill was found near the girls’ mouths, and there was a prescription pill bottle of oxycodone in the room, according to the report.
The father of 9-year-old Aleyah told BreakingAC that he recently won a court battle to have his daughter returned to him in Millville, after Cruse allegedly refused to return the girl after a visit in March 2020.
Last week, days after celebrating the court victory, Kevin Maddox found out his daughter and her half-sister were dead.
Michael Coleman, 4-year-old Royal’s father, reportedly told police Cruse “was upset over a recent court hearing where was losing custody of” one of the girls. He also said she told him the girls had COVID-19, and that she was keeping them isolated and medicating them.