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Avondale mother found dead, stuffed into closet. Daughter taken into custody

Detectives believe Norma Jean Grajeda, 56, allegedly bludgeoned and strangled her 86-year-old mother at the family's apartment on Wednesday.

AVONDALE, Ariz. — An Avondale woman is suspected of murdering her 86-year-old mother and hiding her body inside a water heater closet, court paperwork shows.

Norma Jean Grajeda, 56, is facing charges of second-degree murder and aggravated assault after Avondale police found her deceased mother folded up in a closet inside the family's apartment. 

The victim appeared to have been bludgeoned and strangled to death, police said.

Officers were called out to Grajeda's apartment complex on Wednesday, paperwork shows. The suspect told them a man named Marcus had locked himself inside her apartment and wouldn't leave. 

Grajeda claimed Marcus was a friend of her mother's and alleged the two of them were conspiring to kill Grajeda. 

Avondale police did not find anyone inside the apartment except the body of Grajeda's mother stuffed inside a closet, court records show. 

Neighbors told investigators Grajeda had been acting "weird" and "paranoid" in the days leading up to her mother's death. 

Grajeda denied killing her mother, yet investigators noticed the suspect had injuries on her hands and spots of blood on her clothes. She allegedly admitted to getting into a "scuffle" with her mother.

The suspect insisted someone named Marcus was possibly trying to hurt her, court records show. 

Investigators reviewed a neighbor's video surveillance footage and claim they didn't observe anyone other than Grajeda enter the family's apartment during the time when the murder would have happened. 

Grajeda was taken into custody and booked into the Maricopa County jail.

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