Raquel Rayas, also known as Raquel Renee Rayas, didn’t return home to her Hesperia, California, home in 2011. Authorities say it was because the teen was kidnapped, shot, and left for dead in a desert in the Deep Creek Spillway. Her killers Angela ‘Angie’ Sanchez and Joseph Villa murdered her. The story, which didn’t make many news headlines five years ago, will be the focus of Investigation Discovery’s Swamp Murders. This week, Swamp Murders airs back to back with the all-new episode, “Oasis of Death.”Law enforcement officials, family members, and friends will discuss the case.
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Swamp Murders: “Oasis of Death”
When a passerby finds the body of a teenage girl investigators rush her to the hospital in the hopes of saving her life. But when the teen dies, investigators have the task of notifying her family and finding her killer as soon as they can find out the name of their victim.
Raquel Rayas disappeared in May, 2011. Her body was found in the desert, near the Deep Creek Spillway. The body was that of a Hispanic female who appeared to be in her teens or early twenties. The victim was still breathing but unconscious. After deputies rushed her to the local emergency room, she died. An autopsy report conducted on the female confirmed that she had been beaten. She had also been shot twice: once in the neck and once in the head. The killing was deliberate.
There was no identification on the body except some tattoos that police found may be helpful in securing her identity. The victim was later identified as 19-year-old Raquel Renee Rayas of Hesperia, California. Although they knew the teen’s identity, they still didn’t have any leads, and without enough evidence to make an arrest, the case went cold.
Six months later, police were directed to a suspect named Joseph Villa, a 23-year-old man in Apple Valley, the Sun News reported. Detectives learned that Raquel Rayas was with Joseph Villa on the night of the murder. At first, Villa denied killing Raquel Rayas but admitted that she had been to his home after his girlfriend had broken up with him.
According to Joseph Villa, Raquel Rayas came over to the house, where they had sex. Rayas showed interest in pursuing a relationship with Joseph Villa. But Villa claimed he was uninterested since he missed his girlfriend with whom he had three children.
When pressed further, Joseph Villa stated that Raquel Rayas was a bad person who stole from him, but he still insisted that he had nothing to do with her death. However, police were armed with evidence that a gun found in his parents’ home was the same one that killed Rayas, court records show.
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Joseph Villa then changed his story, blaming a woman named Angie for Raquel’s murder. Angie was 38-year-old Angela Sanchez, a friend of Joseph Villa. Villa’s story was that Angela Lucia Sanchez forced Raquel Rayas into the car and drove to the remote location, where the victim was finally shot. The Daily Press reported the following circumstances.
“The first shot was in the upper back near the neck. Rayas fell to the ground, and he shot her point blank in the left side of her head, near the temple, to make sure she was dead. That’s what he confessed to.”
However, the evidence showed that Joseph Villa was most likely the one who pulled the trigger. Joseph Villa was found guilty and sentenced to 50 years to life. Angela Sanchez was sentenced to 14 years. The police didn’t provide a motive in the murder, and the connection between Angela Sanchez and Joseph Villa was not publicly determined.
My signature on the Deep Creek spillway. pic.twitter.com/UNvLRT9Z
— jeff krueger (@jeffkruegerX) May 14, 2012
A Few Interesting Details
- Pictures of Raquel Rayas can be found here at Family Funeral Chapel.
- Deep Creek, also known as Deep Creek Hot Springs and Deep Creek Spillway, is located in the Mojave Desert in the San Bernadino National Forest.
- A year after Joseph Villa was sent to prison, his family won $75,000 in the California Lottery, according to the Daily Press.
To get more inside details about the Raquel Rayas case, viewers will have to tune in to Swamp Murders this Tuesday, October 18, on Investigation Discovery. Check your local listings for times. In the previous Swamp Murders episode, the case of Stephanie Evans was profiled.
[Featured Image by Banana Republic images/Shutterstock]