LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The father convicted of helping his son move 22-year-old Lesly Palacio’s body after she was murdered in August 2020 is out of jail after serving less than 9 months, the 8 News Now I-Team confirmed Friday.
Last year, Jose Rangel pleaded guilty to helping his son, Erick Rangel-Ibarra, move Palacio’s body from the family home. Rangel-Ibarra then drove to an area near the Valley of Fire, ditching Palacio’s body in a desert area.
Rangel-Ibarra remains on the run. Police suspect he was in Mexico within 48 hours of Palacio’s death.
In August 2021, a judge sentenced Rangel to 2 years at the Clark County Detention Center with 205 days credit for time served. A spokesperson for Las Vegas Metro police, which runs the jail, confirmed Rangel was released on April 28.
The time equals 8 months and 15 days. There is no early-release stipulation in court documents other than the 205-day credit.
A spokesperson for Las Vegas Metro police, which operates the jail, confirmed Rangel received more credit for programs completed during his sentence. The credits are mandated in state law, the spokesperson said.
“Absolutely furious. It’s just unfair,” Ofelia Markarian, an attorney with the Ofelia Markarian Law Group and representative for the Palacio family said Friday. “Not only is the main suspect not in custody, but now not only was someone who was involved who covered up a murder is back on the streets after serving 8 months and 15 days.”
The I-Team alerted the Palacio family to Rangel’s release, Markarian said.
Video evidence presented to a grand jury in 2021 showed Rangel-Ibarra and Rangel moving Palacio’s body on Aug. 29, 2020, according to documents obtained first by the I-Team last year.
According to court transcripts and video footage, prosecutors said Rangel-Ibarra returned to his home with Palacio around 6 a.m. after a night of drinking. Video shows a man, whom prosecutors identified as Rangel-Ibarra, helping a woman, identified as Palacio, get out of a truck parked in front of his home, court documents said.
An hour later, the same camera from a home down the street captures two men, whom prosecutors identified as Rangel-Ibarra and Rangel, dragging a body from the home and into the same truck. A few minutes later, the video shows the truck leaving, and a man, whom prosecutors identified as Rangel, hosing off the walkway.
Crime scene photos from inside the home show a stripped bed and some blood splatter, though investigators have yet to determine the source of the blood, documents said. Investigators also shared photos of gloves and cleaning supplies in the home.
Rangel initially told police he thought Palacio had died from an overdose, but then told police he initially saw the body when Erick dragged it down the stairs of their home on a bed sheet, documents said.
Rangel-Ibarra is wanted on charges of murder and destroying evidence. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (702) 385-5555. Police suspect Rangel-Ibarra is hiding in Mexico.
Palacio’s official cause and manner of death are listed as undetermined. Investigators have not elaborated on what evidence inside the Rangel home led them to determine Palacio is the victim of a homicide. An undetermined cause and manner of death mean there is not enough evidence on a deceased person’s body to clearly determine how they died.