In late August 2013, Isabella Guzman stabbed her mother, Yun-Mi Hoy, 31 times in the face and 48 times in the neck. Out of concern for her safety, Hoy had called the police to report her daughter’s behavior. Police warned her to calm down or risk eviction by her mother. Later that day, Isabela actuated her threats by murdering her.
Guzman received universal condemnation for the brutal murder. Her demeanor in court worsened people’s perception of the 18-year-old.
Investigations revealed that Isabella committed the murders because she was mentally ill. The court found her not guilty by reason of insanity and sent her to the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo for treatment.
Isabella has secured a conditional release from the mental health institution
The court ordered that Isabella remain in the mental health institution until she was no longer a threat to herself or the community. The ruling meant that Isabella could potentially spend the rest of her life at the institution.
It seems likely that Isabella will secure full release from the mental institution soon. At the moment, Isabella can leave the institution for group therapy and other types of treatment. She’s required to wear a GPS tracker whenever she’s out in public.
In November 2020, Guzman publicized her intention to reintegrate into society. Guzman told CBS4 that medication had restored her sanity. She insisted that she wasn’t the same person who killed her mother all those years ago.
“I was not myself when I did that, and I have since been restored to full health,” she said. Isabella also asserted that she came from an abusive home: “I was abused at home by my family for many years. My parents are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I left the religion when I was 14, and the abuse worsened after I quit.”
Guzman believes that she meets the criteria for a full release from the mental institution. “I’m not mentally ill anymore,” she added. “I’m not a danger to myself or others.”
According to Isabella, she’s experienced bad times at the institution. In 2015, she reported that she’d been sexually assaulted by a hospital employee in a closet.
“He asked me if I wanted to go in there and look through to get some clothing so I did,” Isabella said. “The other patient left and he went in there and shut the door behind me.”
The Colorado Department of Human Services investigated Guzman’s complaint but has refused to publicize its findings, citing privacy laws. The district attorney’s office claims it hasn’t received a case from the hospital police, despite Isabella’s claim that there are two more incidents involving the employee.
“I was afraid that if I didn’t do what he wanted that he could ruin my life,” Isabella said. “(It’s been) so hard on me emotionally and mentally. It made me feel like I wanted to give up.”
The prosecution agreed with expert testimony that Isabella was mentally ill when she murdered her mom
Isabella’s parents saw warning signs that Isabella was slipping off the edge. Her behavior culminated in an email to his mom stating that she would pay.
Just hours before the murder, Isabella’s biological father, Robert Guzman, tried to talk some sense into his daughter. He spoke to her about the value of respecting her parents. He told 7News:
“And I was trying to let her know that she should be obedient to her parents, not rebellious, that she should try to listen more and everything was going fine. In the conversation, I thought that I made obviously it didn’t do nothing, because hours later, this thing happened.”
Unfortunately, he didn’t know that Isabella had schizophrenia and had been haunted by disturbing delusions for years. Per an expert witness, Guzman believed her mother to be a woman named Cecilia who needed to die for the world’s salvation.
Usually, the court conducts a separate trial to determine an accused’s sanity, but in this case, the prosecution agreed with the expert witness that Isabella was not guilty due to insanity. DA George Brauchler told the court:
“I am convinced that this woman did not know right from wrong and she could not have acted differently than she did, given the significant schizophrenia and paranoid delusions, audible, visual hallucinations she was going through. I was convinced of it.”