I-Team: Months after murder, condition of Lesly Palacio’s body leads coroner to list cause of death as undetermined

I-Team

Murder suspect remains on the run; father's trial begins in June

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It’s been nearly nine months since she was murdered, and the Clark County Coroner’s Office says it can’t determine what killed 22-year-old Lesly Palacio last summer.

Palacio’s body was found near the Valley of Fire on Sept. 9, 2020. The 22-year-old was last seen on video being carried out of a home on the east side on Aug. 29.

Palacio’s official cause and manner of death are listed as undetermined. The coroner’s office made the determination Wednesday, officials said. An undetermined cause and manner of death means there is not enough evidence on a deceased person’s body to clearly determine how they died.

In this case, prosecutors said Palacio’s body had been exposed to the elements for nearly two weeks. Investigators told a grand jury during a hearing in February that the body was severely decomposed.

Lesly Palacio (KLAS)

Investigators believe Palacio’s body was dragged through the dirt near a wash and left. Prosecutors said Jose Rangel helped his son, Eric Rangel-Ibarra, move Palacio’s lifeless body into Rangel-Ibarra’s truck.

According to court transcripts and video footage, prosecutors believe Rangel-Ibarra returned to his home with Palacio around 6 a.m. on Aug. 29 after a night of drinking. Video shows a man, whom prosecutors identify as Rangel-Ibarra, helping a woman, identified as Palacio, get out of a truck parked in front of his home on Tipper Avenue, court documents revealed.

During grand jury proceedings, a police officer described his interview with Rangel. Rangel initially told police he thought Palacio had died from an overdose, but then told police he first saw the body when Rangel-Ibarra dragged it down the stairs of their home on a bed sheet.

The coroner’s office said no tests were pending in the case, meaning toxicology results had likely returned. Toxicology results would affect a person’s cause of death and are not public record.

Rangel is charged with being an accessory to murder and destroying or concealing evidence. His trial is expected to start in June. Rangel-Ibarra remains on the run and is believed to be in Mexico.

The Palacio family continues to plead for Rangel-Ibarra to turn himself in.

“We’re never going to see Lesly again,” Lesly’s sister Nayelli Palacio told the I-Team in March. “There’s nothing anybody could do in the world that wouldn’t pay to see Lesly again. We’re never going to see her, hold her. Anything. The bare minimum he could do is turn himself in like Jose did.”

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