Woman sentenced to probation in case tied to Freeborn County murder suspect

Published 3:56 pm Friday, February 23, 2024

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The second of two women arrested during the search for a Freeborn County murder suspect in August 2022 on Friday was sentenced to three years of supervised probation and served jail time for breaking into a home in rural Ellendale that authorities thought the suspect was hiding in.

Raquel Isabel Vasquez, 27, pleaded guilty in June to third-degree burglary in the case.

Co-defendant Ashley Marie Estrada also pleaded guilty to the same charge and was sentenced to two years of probation in June.

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According to court documents, authorities executed a search warrant at a home on 830th Avenue in rural Ellendale on Aug. 10, 2022, after receiving information that homicide suspect Ben Moreno would be with the two women.

At the time, Moreno was wanted for the shooting death of Juan Vasquez Jr. the day before south of Albert Lea.

Authorities stated the SWAT team came to execute the warrant and approached the house with an armored vehicle and gave commands. The women reportedly surrendered and were detained, but Moreno was not found there.

He was arrested the next day in Forest City and has since been charged with second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder and ineligible possession of a firearm.

The complaint stated Vasquez admitted in an interview with a Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office detective that she and Estrada had broken into the house, used a bathroom and cooked some rice and beans. They said no one else was there while they were at the house.

One of the women reportedly knew the person living at the residence — who was at treatment — but he told authorities he had not given them permission to be at the property.

In court Friday, Freeborn County District Court Judge Christy Hormann ordered Vasquez also have no contact with the victim in the case and pay restitution if requested. She also has a series of other conditions she must follow.