It was Lesly Palacio’s “contagious smile” that friends and family will remember of her. Others remember their time with her in the Medical Assistant program, hoping one day to be a crime scene investigator, excelling in her studies, always happy, always upbeat, and of course, always smiling.
Palacio was only 22-years-old when her life was ended. The night before she went missing, Palacio had been texting her sister, Karely Palacio. She needed to “talk to her about something.”
Caught On Camera
It was just after midnight when Lesly Palacio was seen by a camera walking into the Las Vegas Longhorn Hotel and Casino. By her side was Erick Rangel-Ibarra, a 25-year-old friend.
The footage reveals the couple exiting Erick’s white 2004 Ford F-150 pickup truck and walking towards the entrance. Rangel-Ibarra glances back at his truck while pressing the automatic lock button and Lesly fishes for her mask before entering the casino and restaurant.
The couple walks out a little while later.
It would be two excruciating weeks before detectives find her dead body tossed in the desert by unremorseful hands.
The Valley of Fire
It was the LMMPD investigators along with Moapa Tribal Police and Red Rock Search & Rescue who discovered Palacio’s body dumped in the Valley of Fire State Park.
On any other occasion the red and orange Aztec sandstone formations, and the mountains of gray and tan limestone are utterly breathtaking.
For someone dumping a dead body, the park’s 40,000 acres provides ample opportunities.
The Valley has history dating back to 300 b.c., a rich heritage of American Indian culture and lore.
A long-ago traveler once stated how the red-orangish sandstone looked like fire. The name stuck.
Like Father, Like Son
Perhaps one of the more disturbing details with the Lesly Palacio case is the two other people involved.
Erick Rangel-Ibarra, 25, and his father, yes is own father, Jose Antonio Rangel.
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Exact details of how Lesly died are still not available, but thanks to a nearby neighbor’s home security footage, we have an exact view of what happened after Lesly passed.
The beginning of the video shows Lesly Palacio entering the home of Erick Rangel-Ibarra around 6 a.m., following their trip to the Longhorn Hotel and Casino.
And only 90 minutes later, according to Grand Jury transcripts, both father and son drag out Lesly’s corpse before placing her in the “front passenger compartment”.
Shortly after the father is seen attempting to clean his son’s driveway with a hose and water.
Fled to Mexico
The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol arrested Jose Antonio Rangel, the father, on January 19th near the San Diego and Mexico border.
Currently Erick Rangel-Ibarra is still at large.
Detectives issued a search warrant on Erick’s home, finding “a small amount of blood spatter in Rangel’s bedroom.”
The father initially claimed Palacio died from an overdose, which he then saw his son dragging her body down the stairs on a bedsheet.
Hopefully, the actual truth will surface soon along with the whereabouts of Erick Rangel-Ibarra.