News Release Date: January 12, 2017
Contact: NPS Investigative Services Branch, (202) 379-4761
Man convicted of first-degree murder sentenced to serve 25 years to life in prison
A homicide investigation by the National Park Service (NPS) Investigative Services Branch, Visalia Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has concluded with a guilty verdict and lengthy prison sentence.
Miguel Villegas Pacheco, age 36, will serve 25 years to life behind bars for the first-degree murder of his 14-year-old stepson in 2013. A jury convicted Pacheco in November 2016; he was sentenced in Tulare County Superior Court on January 11.
Pacheco reported the teen as missing on November 18, 2013. The Visalia Police Department launched an extensive search for the missing juvenile, working with other agencies and volunteers. Several days later, an off-duty NPS employee was walking her dog in a remote area of Sequoia National Park when she discovered the teen's body near the end of a dirt road.
According to court documents, the cause of the teen's death was determined to be ligature strangulation. Investigators also determined that Pacheco strangled the teen inside the family home the day before he reported the boy as missing. He had transported the boy's remains into the park the next morning before talking to authorities.
The case was prosecuted by the Office of the District Attorney, County of Tulare.
ISB: the Investigative Services Branch of the National Park Service