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Contact: NPS Investigative Services Branch, (202) 379-4761
A homicide investigation by the National Park Service (NPS) Investigative Services Branch, Visalia Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has led to a guilty verdict. On November 9, 2016, a jury convicted Miguel Villegas Pacheco, age 35, of first-degree murder in the 2013 death of his 14-year-old stepson.
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 has 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. Pacheco is scheduled to be sentenced on January 11, 2017. He faces 25 years to life in prison.