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Was a W. Richland killer grooming his victim in 6th grade? What a WA investigation found

Angelica Santos was in the sixth grade when she began telling mates she had a secret boyfriend.

She stated it was Elias Huizar — a 34-year-old Yakima policeman working as a college useful resource officer at her center college.

Within the following 5 years, Huizar misplaced his police job, bought a divorce and had a child with Santos.

Less than two weeks in the past, he stabbed her to dying at his dwelling in the Tri-Cities and fled with their 1-year-old son.

The 17-year-old doubtless was killed the identical day that he gunned down his ex-wife at a close by Tri-Cities college the place she labored.

The murders led to a 300-mile, two-state manhunt that ended final week alongside Interstate 5 in Oregon when Huizar shot and killed himself.

Now, among the many many questions being requested, is what police and faculty officers in Yakima and Richland knew of Huizar’s relationship with Santos and if it started when she was simply 12.

The allegations had been the main target of a month-long prison investigation in 2019, ensuing in a 105-page report by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.

At the time, many officers and her circle of relatives members didn’t imagine Santos was telling her mates the reality.

The full story of when their sexual relationship started doubtless won’t ever be identified. But just lately his grooming of younger women was changing into clearer.

He was charged in February with raping Santos when she was 15 and with raping her teen pal earlier this yr.

Angelica Santos was a sixth-grade student when she told friends that she was dating a Yakima police officer.Angelica Santos was a sixth-grade student when she told friends that she was dating a Yakima police officer.

Angelica Santos was a sixth-grade pupil when she instructed mates that she was courting a Yakima police officer.

How she met Huizar

Santos and her youthful brother grew up in the care of her grandmother, Ann Wells, in Yakima. Santos had restricted contact together with her mom, who had a historical past of drug issues and being abusive.

Her father wasn’t round a lot. He confirmed up in Yakima in October 2017 whereas fleeing warrants in Indiana and North Carolina. On Christmas Day 2017, he was killed in a confrontation with Yakima police.

Yakima School District data present Santos began entering into hassle in school in 2018, in her first yr at center college.

A Washington Middle School self-discipline report from October 2018 connected to the Attorney General’s investigation stated she was combating with one other lady.

By January 2019, Santos was suspended twice and he or she was served with a restraining order to keep away from the opposite pupil.

One day when the 2 women had been at lunch, one other combat erupted. The disciplinary data say Santos began the confrontation, and Huizar, the varsity’s useful resource officer, stepped between the ladies and stopped the combat.

Elias Huizar in 2018.Elias Huizar in 2018.

Elias Huizar in 2018.

After that, Santos continued to have issues in college with attendance and being disruptive, however no different bodily fights had been reported.

But that’s additionally when others began noticing that Santos started hanging across the good-looking officer who participated in bodybuilding tournaments and who had damaged up her earlier combat, in line with college Principal Bill Hilton and Vice Principal Sara Cordova.

Huizar, who joined Yakima police in 2013, had been a college useful resource officer for about a yr and a half. His supervising sergeant, Joseph Deccio, later instructed investigators he heard constructive suggestions about Huizar’s work.

However, Hilton acknowledged in the report that there have been some questions in the start about Huizar’s conduct round college students.

“It was reported to him by some teachers that Huizar was making comments such as, ‘I’m your daddy,’ to students,” Hilton instructed senior AG investigator Bradley Graham.

“Hilton said he counseled Huizar about it — telling him that it was inappropriate humor for the students. He said he felt that Huizar was doing it simply to be funny.”

Cordova additionally instructed Huizar to alter his Facebook account to a non-public setting to stop college students from viewing his non-public photos.

But Hilton, Cordova and the varsity’s safety officer, Herberto Zuniga, all vouched for Huizar.

Angelica Santos, shown here in an undated photo with her brother, was a sixth-grade student in Yakima when she told friends that she was dating a Yakima police officer.Angelica Santos, shown here in an undated photo with her brother, was a sixth-grade student in Yakima when she told friends that she was dating a Yakima police officer.

Angelica Santos, proven right here in an undated photograph together with her brother, was a sixth-grade pupil in Yakima when she instructed mates that she was courting a Yakima police officer.

‘Dating’ an officer

Hilton stated college officers began to note Santos standing close to Huizar earlier than college in the mornings and throughout the lunch hour.

“(The principal) referred to her as ‘always by (Huizar),’” Graham wrote. “Asked if he spoke with Huizar about it early on, he said he didn’t. He did talk to (Angelica) and her grandmother about it and told the student to stop doing it.”

Then in March 2019, one other pupil reported to high school officers that Santos was claiming on the social media app SnapChat that she and Huizar had been courting.

“Hilton noted that (the other student) had a history of making false accusations and he didn’t feel it was valid,” Graham wrote.

When he talked to Santos and her grandmother concerning the message, Santos denied sending it and stated her account was hacked, in line with the report.

The principal additionally talked to Huizar concerning the message, and the officer stated Santos “made him uncomfortable and he didn’t want her hanging around him.”

Angelica Santos, pictured here with her family, was a sixth-grade student when she told friends that she was dating a Yakima police officer in 2019.Angelica Santos, pictured here with her family, was a sixth-grade student when she told friends that she was dating a Yakima police officer in 2019.

Angelica Santos, pictured right here together with her household, was a sixth-grade pupil when she instructed mates that she was courting a Yakima police officer in 2019.

Hilton didn’t notify college district directors or Huizar’s supervisor on the police division concerning the allegations.

“Hilton said, ‘We handled it — we couldn’t verify it.’”

He stated college leaders talked extra to the opposite pupil, who appeared to “back off some” on her statements.

A pair months later in May 2019, another women got here ahead to report Santos was speaking about courting Huizar and being sexually energetic.

Santos instructed them on SnapChat and in individual, that she and the officer had intercourse in a janitor’s closet in school and at his Yakima dwelling.

The SnapChat messages from a individual with the username Lowkeyy had been printed out and included in the AG’s report.

Lowkeyy says she had intercourse with Huizar and shared pictures of him with out a shirt believed to be from his private Facebook web page.

In the messages, she requested her mates to maintain it a secret. But others in school realized concerning the messages and Santos grew to become despondent and instructed her mates she needed to die by suicide.

She additionally had instructed a pal in school that she’d been sexually energetic with Huizar and the lady instructed her dad.

The father known as the vice principal and reported that Santos “was going around school telling people that she lost her virginity to Officer Huizar.”

2019 investigation

This time, college directors known as Yakima police.

Santos was “emergency expelled” from college whereas they investigated the claims. And Huizar was positioned on administrative go away.

Former Yakima Police Officer Elias Huizar, on the left, is accused of raping a teen at a West Richland home. He is pictured here in 2018 with two other resource officers delivering food to families in need.Former Yakima Police Officer Elias Huizar, on the left, is accused of raping a teen at a West Richland home. He is pictured here in 2018 with two other resource officers delivering food to families in need.

Former Yakima Police Officer Elias Huizar, on the left, is accused of raping a teen at a West Richland dwelling. He is pictured right here in 2018 with two different useful resource officers delivering meals to households in want.

Yakima Detective Michael Durbin talked with the principal and vice principal together with Child Protective Services. But since Huizar was a Yakima officer, the division requested the state Attorney General’s Office to research the allegations.

But even in the early phases of the investigation, Durbin found college officers and her family didn’t imagine what Santos posted or instructed mates.

Santos’ grandmother “told me that she did not believe the ‘poor officer’ did anything with (Angelica) and that she didn’t want to see the officer suffer harm for something that didn’t happen,” Durbin wrote.

The detective instructed Santos’ grandmother that he couldn’t discuss concerning the particulars the case, however needed to ensure that she and Santos had entry to applications to help them.

Graham from the AG’s Office took over the investigation in June 2019.

The principal and vice principal instructed Graham that that they had no considerations that Huizar raped any of their college students.

They famous that the janitor’s closet on the college was in a public place that was monitored by safety cameras. And a live feed of the cameras was seen in the principle workplace and there was solely a restricted quantity of recorded video.

Vice Principal Sara Cordova additionally instructed Graham that her husband at the moment labored as Yakima police captain. The principal didn’t imagine that will have an effect on her judgment concerning the allegations towards Huizar.

A GoFundMe was created for Angelica M. Santos, 17, who was killed by her boyfriend Elias Huizar, a 39-year-old former police officer, inside his West Richland home in April 2024.A GoFundMe was created for Angelica M. Santos, 17, who was killed by her boyfriend Elias Huizar, a 39-year-old former police officer, inside his West Richland home in April 2024.

A GoFundMe was created for Angelica M. Santos, 17, who was killed by her boyfriend Elias Huizar, a 39-year-old former police officer, inside his West Richland dwelling in April 2024.

Disbelief and denials

Graham additionally interviewed six college students at Washington Middle School.

Each stated that they had by no means seen Santos and Huizar collectively off campus. He requested some in the event that they believed there was a relationship, they usually stated they didn’t.

Most of the ladies stated they had been now not mates with Santos due to the allegations.

Santos grandmother instructed the AG investigator that her granddaughter was a delicate and caring lady who preferred to assist the homeless.

She didn’t imagine her granddaughter was sexually energetic and hadn’t proven any sexualized behaviors. And she stated there was no alternative for Santos to bought to Huizar’s dwelling as a result of she took the lady to and from college on a regular basis.

“She said this is (Angelica’s) first year in middle school and her granddaughter wasn’t sure she wanted to go there,” stated the report. “(Angelica) described it as a ‘dark and scary place.’ She said that having the officer there made her feel safer.”

Nothing Santos had stated or executed made Wells assume she had an inappropriate relationship with Huizar. Santos instructed her grandmother that she was upset concerning the different college students spreading rumors about her in school.

Santos additionally denied the rumors when she was interviewed by a legislation enforcement interviewer who specializes in speaking with kids. Santos instructed the interviewer that Huizar is “nice” and “smiles a lot,” however stated they had been by no means alone with one another.

“She said (the rumors) came from a group of girls at school who were friends of hers and the girls ‘cause drama,’” stated the AG report. “She said the group of girls would fight and make up and fight again and she decided to stop being a friend with them.”

The rumors began after she stopped being their pal, in line with the report. She instructed Graham that the “Lowkeyy” username had been hers as soon as, nevertheless it wasn’t anymore.

Findings and aftermath

Graham stated he found no different proof of sexual contact between Santos and Huizar.

He famous that whereas college students reported having conversations with Santos the place she claimed to be courting the officer, that they had no particular dates or instances.

Without any corroborating proof, the case was dropped in June 2019.

Three months later, in September, Huizar requested a decide for a safety order to maintain Santos away from him and his spouse and their two children.

In it, he stated his spouse, Amber Rodriguez, was receiving unusual nameless cellphone calls and textual content messages.

A Yakima investigation uncovered that the messages had been coming from Santos, in line with his petition for the safety order.

“I was told that Santos wrote a letter at school and she was attempting to give me the letter. From what I was told, she was being inappropriate in the letter,” he wrote in the petition.

The two-year safety order was granted when she was 13 years outdated.

It’s unclear if that they had any contact throughout that point. But a yr later, Huizar’s spouse filed for divorce and moved with their two sons to the Tri-Cities, the place she labored as a actual property agent. She later grew to become a paraeducator at William Wiley Elementary School in West Richland.

Their divorce paperwork filed in 2020 didn’t point out Santos.

Four years later in February 2024,when Rodriguez filed for a safety order towards her ex-husband, she stated she didn’t know that his present girlfriend, Angelica Santos, was the identical lady he had gotten the safety order towards years earlier than.

Santos instructed investigators throughout a rape investigation involving Huizar and considered one of Santos’ teen mates that she and Huizar started courting when she was 15 when he contacted her by means of Facebook.

At that point in 2021, he was reportedly on medical go away for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the Yakima Police Department.

Court data present their relationship continued and he or she had his son in April 2023 when she was 16.

In February 2024, he was accused of raping her teen pal at their West Richland home whereas she was there. The allegations made police officers query whether or not Huizar’s sexual relationship with Santos was a crime due to her age.

He was formally charged with raping her pal and in addition with little one rape due to his relationship with Santos. A decide ordered Huizar to keep away from each of them.

Angelica Santos’ body was discovered April 22 inside Elias Huizar’s home on South Highlands Boulevard in West Richland. She was found dead after Huizar shot and killed his ex-wife at a nearby school.Angelica Santos’ body was discovered April 22 inside Elias Huizar’s home on South Highlands Boulevard in West Richland. She was found dead after Huizar shot and killed his ex-wife at a nearby school.

Angelica Santos’ physique was found April 22 inside Elias Huizar’s dwelling on South Highlands Boulevard in West Richland. She was found lifeless after Huizar shot and killed his ex-wife at a close by college.

But West Richland police found her physique at his dwelling on April 22, 2024, once they had been looking for him after he’d shot and killed his ex-wife on the college a block away. It’s unclear if Santos had returned to dwelling there.

Santos’ aunt Samantha Deluna instructed the Tri-City Herald this week that they didn’t approve of her relationship with Huizar and had talked to her about it.

But Santos had by no means instructed them that Huizar was the newborn’s father.

Huizar took the boy with him when he fled the Tri-Cities murders. The child was found secure in his automotive seat after Huizar crashed alongside Interstate 5 close to Eugene on April 23 and shot himself.

Oregon State Patrol Officers secure 1-year-old Roman Huizar after stopping Elias Huizar near Eugene, Oregon.Oregon State Patrol Officers secure 1-year-old Roman Huizar after stopping Elias Huizar near Eugene, Oregon.

Oregon State Patrol Officers safe 1-year-old Roman Huizar after stopping Elias Huizar close to Eugene, Oregon.

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