Child predator dirty ex-cop and murderer dead after multistate manhunt | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

Elias Huizar

EUGENE, Oreg.—After a pursuit with Oregon State Patrol (OSP), former Yakima Police Officer and former substitute teacher for the Richland School District, Elias Huizar, 39, who led law enforcement on a 24-hour manhunt for allegedly killing his ex-wife and girlfriend, was pronounced dead today with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

At approximately 3 p.m., Tuesday, April 23, the OSP located Elias Huizar’s vehicle driving southbound on Interstate 5, near Eugene, Oregon, and initiated a pursuit that ended with the suspect sustaining a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to West Richland Police Department (WRPD). The 1-year-old child, Roman Santos, was taken safely into custody by OSP troopers.

During a 2 p.m. press conference by WRPD on Tuesday, West Richland Police Chief Thomas Grego shared the tragic events leading to the murder of Amber Ann Rodriguez, 31, and Angelica Santos, 17-year-old girlfriend of the suspect, and the kidnapping of the 1-year-old boy who he had with his girlfriend who was 15 years old at the time.

At 3:23 p.m., Monday, April 22, the West Richland Police Department responded to a shooting on the grounds at William Wiley Elementary School. An adult female, Amber Ann Rodriguez, 31, was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Benton County Coroner.  There were no other causalities.

According to Shelley Redinger, superintendent of the Richland School District, Elias Huizar was hiding behind a portable area waiting for the victim, his ex-wife Amber Rodriguez, during dismissal of school for the day—dismissal was at 3:15 p.m. Huizar, wearing all black clothes and a black hat fired multiple shots at a Rodriguez. Staff quickly directed students to safety.

Amber Rodriquez
Amber Rodriquez

According to court documents, Rodriguez had multiple fatal gunshot wounds to her head and torso, and eight .40 caliber bullet casings were recovered at the scene. Rodriquez and Huizar share two children together. Their 9-year-old son, who was at school, witnessed the fatal shooting of his mother.

While serving a search warrant at the residence Elias Huizar, West Richland Police Detectives and partner agencies discovered a second homicide victim, the 17-year-old girlfriend of Huizar with whom they share a 1-year-old boy, Angelica Santos.

Huizar met the second Santos when he was a School Resource Officer her school, Franklin Middle School, in the Yakima School District, and got her pregnant when she was only 15 years old, according to court records.

Elias Huizar
West Richland Mayor Brent Gerry facilitating the press conference in the Noski Community Room of the West Richland Police Department on April 23, 2024. SOURCE: Screen capture of video on Facebook.

At approximately 9:45 pm, April 22, the Washington State Patrol, on behalf of the West Richland Police Department, issued an Amber Alert for 1-year-old boy and a silver 2009 Toyota Corolla with Washington plates CBZ4745. The Amber Alert was extended from Washington to Oregon, as well as additional locations along the West Coast as Huizar was believed to have been heading towards Mexico, according to WRPD.

Eric Eisinger
Eric Eisinger

Benton County Prosecutor, Eric Eisinger, during Tuesday’s presser shared that a nationwide arrest warrant for Elias Huizar was issued for 1st degree premediated murder of Amber Ann Rodriguez. The charge included and aggravated circumstance allegation of Domestic Violence and a firearm enhancement.

At the time of the school shooting, Elias Huizar was out on conditions of release on two pending felony matters for rape of child in the third degree and rape in the second degree. His total bail on those two matters were $250,000 that was set by the court, according to Eisinger.

Huizar is a former Yakima Police Department officer who was last employed with the law enforcement agency in February of 2022 after he was accused of raping a 16-year-old girl in February of that year after illegally providing her alcohol. Prior to being terminated by the Yakima Police Department he was an officer with the force from 2013 to 2022.

On February 18, 2022, Huizar, who was accused of raping a 16-year-old, was hired by the Richland School District.

Shelley Redinger
Shelley Redinger

Shelley Redinger, superintendent of the Richland School District, during Tuesday’s presser said Huizar passed background checks and answered no on an affidavit to questions that included whether he had ever resigned from an employer with allegations of misconduct pending or if he’d ever been the subject of a workplace investigation accusing him of misconduct.

She did not answer if the District was made aware by anyone, including his ex-wife, of the rape allegations and being fired from the Yakima Police Department.

For 18 months, Elias Huizar worked as a substitute teacher within the Richland School District directly with children and young girls. His last day of substitute teaching was June 14, 2023, according to the District. On February 14, 2024, Huizar was removed him from all substitute teaching and volunteer portals after the District was made aware of his arrest and multiple allegations of rapes of minors.

Elias Huizar
Richland School District Board of Directors meeting on April 23, 2024. SOURCE: Richland School District

“We are extremely disheartened that information about Mr. Huizar’s past was not disclosed to us through the various processes we have in place to vet RSD candidates for employment,” the Richland School District released in its statement to the public of Facebook. “It is the expectation for individuals who apply for employment with RSD to be forthcoming and truthful in their applications. No past investigations or allegations appeared in Mr. Huizar’s background checks before he was hired and nothing was disclosed by Mr. Huizar. We take the process of hiring staff very seriously and pride ourselves on the quality and character of our staff members.”

Below is a timeline of the employment of Elias Huizar provided by the Richland School District that is posted to its Facebook account:

  • November 19, 2021: Mr. Huizar started application process with the Richland School District for a substitute position.
  • January 31, 2022: The Richland School District received a reference from the Principal of Franklin Middle School (Yakima School District), where Mr. Huizar was employed as a School Resource Officer. The principal rated Mr. Huizar as a ‘very good’ candidate for the substitute position he applied for.
  • February 2, 2022: The Richland School District received a reference from the Vice Principal of Franklin Middle School (Yakima School District), where Mr. Huizar was employed as a School Resource Officer. The Vice Principal rated Mr. Huizar as an ‘excellent’ candidate for the substitute position he applied for.
  • February 4, 2022: Mr. Huizar completed his drug screen at Lourdes Occupational Health. His fingerprints were taken at the Educational Services District 123, and were used to run background checks with the Washington State Patrol and FBI. Both background checks came back clear, allowing Mr. Huizar to proceed with the employment process at RSD.
  • February 6, 2022: Mr. Huizar completed the mandatory 8-hour STEDI Subskills Training Course passing with a score of 100%.
  • February 7, 2022: RSD initiated Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Emergency Substitute Certificate application, electronically signed and completed by Mr. Huizar. This application asked background questions in the Character and Fitness supplement including “Have you ever resigned from or otherwise left any employment while allegations of misconduct were pending?” and “Are you currently or have you ever been the subject of an investigation or inquiry by an employer because of allegations of misconduct?” Both questions Mr. Huizar answered ‘no.’ He also signed an affidavit certifying all information included in the emergency substitute application was true and correct.
  • February 8, 2022: Yakima School District sent the Washington State Sexual Misconduct Disclosure Release to Richland School District. The Yakima School District checked the box for ‘No sexual misconduct materials found.’ This document was sent to RSD from the Yakima School District Human Resources Department. Mr. Huizar completed his new hire paperwork including an I-9 Form. A notification of reasonable assurance for employment was sent to Mr. Huizar.
  • February 9, 2022: Emergency Substitute Certificate was issued and approved by OSPI. This application was initiated on February 7, 2022.
  • February 10, 2022: The drug screen completed on February 4, 2022 by Mr. Huizar came back clear.
  • February 18, 2022: Mr. Huizar’s first day of substitute teaching for the 2021-22 school year.
  • June 14, 2022: Mr. Huizar’s Last day of substitute teaching for the 2021-22 school year.
  • August 30, 2022: Mr. Huizar’s first day of substitute teaching for the 2022-23 school year.
  • March 26, 2023: Mr. Huizar recertified through OSPI Emergency Substitute Certificate.
  • June 14, 2023: Mr. Huizar’s last day of substitute teaching for the 2022-23 school year. This was Mr. Huizar’s last time as a substitute or volunteer in our schools.
  • September 2023: Mr. Huizar submitted a new volunteer application with RSD but never volunteered in our schools during the 2023-24 school year. Volunteers have their names run through the Washington State Patrol criminal history database each year they apply or reapply.
  • February 14, 2024: After receiving notice of Mr. Huizar’s arrest and learning of the allegations against him, RSD immediately removed him from our substitute and volunteer portals. He was issued a No Trespass notice for all RSD properties.

Superintendent Redinger shared that therapy dogs have been provided and counselors, nurses and local mental health agencies have offered support. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located half-a-mile from the school, was the meeting place for families after the shooting incident.

The school district is in discussion of increasing the number of School Resource Officers, Redinger added.

Angelica Santos
Angelica Santos

According to a court filing about Huizar’s alleged rapes, two teens went to police in early February of 2024. Huizar’s 17-year-old girlfriend, Santos, told officers she woke up to Huizar performing oral sex on her 16-year-old female friend, who was “passed out” after all three had been drinking alcohol.

The West Richland Police Department is working with its regional partners including Kennewick Police Department, Richland Police Department, Pasco Police Department, Benton County Sheriff Department, Franklin County Sheriff Department, Washington State Patrol, Fish & Wildlife, Benton Fire District 4, Benton Fire District 1, the FBI, U.S. Marshalls, and the Oregon State Patrol.

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