Content Warning: Discussions of domestic violence, crimes against children, rape, and other criminal acts. 

Editor’s note: To help protect the victims in this story, the names of the minors involved have been changed.

[Update 4/22/24:]

Before he was hired by the Richland School District (RSD) to teach at Jefferson Elementary School, alleged child rapist Elias Huizar had a trail of allegations and investigations behind him that included rape of a child and a domestic violence incident at another Richland elementary school.

Under the Washington Public Records Act, Tumbleweird obtained records from the Yakima Police Department, the West Richland Police Department, and the Richland School District. Pending are requests from the State Attorney General and Union Gap Police Department. 

Suspicions and investigations of Huizar’s alleged rape of a 13-year-old were first documented in 2019 when he was a school resource officer (SRO) at a Yakima middle school, according to his former supervisor Yakima Police Chief Matthew Murray in an interview with a staff reporter on March 15, 2024.

Records show that Huizar was investigated multiple times in Yakima, including an investigation by the Washington State Attorney General's office for the allegations at the middle school.

On March 29, 2021, Elias Huizar and his ex-wife had a confrontation outside a RSD elementary school. The West Richland Police Department (WRPD) was contacted by school officials. The Yakima Police Department (YPD) was notified and also investigated the incident. 

The WRPD report states: “The father agreed to let his son go with his mother. Both parties stated they will handle the issue in court with their attorneys. The argument was only verbal, not physical.”

None of the investigations resulted  in charges, but Huizar resigned.

Separation forms filed by  Murray on February 14, 2022 with the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Center (WSCJTC)  declared Huizar “not eligible to be re-hired by the Yakima Police Department.”

Records show Huizar had already been hired by the Richland district  on February 8, 2022. It is unclear what Huizar wrote on his application or who he used for recommendations as the RSD  has not provided all of the records requested on February 11. 

Chief Murray said he did not know that Huizar had applied for a job with Richland schools.

On Feb. 3 Huizar was arrested on charges of raping two minors. One of them is the 13-year-old girl that Huizar had been accused of raping in 2019. According to Murray, investigators in 2019 said they had found “zero evidence.” 

A criminal history

Brushes with the law in North Dakota

The Dickinson Press reported in 2008 that Huizar, who attended Dickinson State University in North Dakota as a nationally ranked wrestler, was arrested twice in the fall of his senior year. First, in September, Huizar was accused of terrorizing  people with a knife during a fight on campus. The charges were dismissed in November. 

Then Huizar, along with his brother Ricardo Huizar and friend Steven Sanchez, were arrested September 2008 and charged with criminal trespass in connection to a burglary. Charges were dropped for Elias Huizar but he wasn’t allowed to compete the rest of the wrestling season. 

Huizar becomes a Police Officer

Huizar moved to Washington state and was hired by the YPD on  July 17, 2013. He completed Basic Academy November 13, 2014 and was pinned as an officer in December. 

Elias Huizar became a police officer with the YPD in December 2014 / Facebook: Yakima Police Department

Three and a half years later, the YPD assigned Huizar to be the School Resource Officer (SRO) at Washington Hills Middle School. SROs patrol schools to protect students, staff, and visitors from physical harm and deter criminal activity, according to the Yakima Police Department website. His first day was August 31, 2018. 

When he was working as an SRO, Huizar allegedly initiated an inappropriate relationship with at least two minor children; one of them continued after he left the YPD, according to Yakima Police Chief Mathew Murry. (We will refer to this young girl as ‘Jane Doe’ in this report.) 

As reported by the Tri-City Herald and confirmed by a source in Yakima, it was an open secret around the school that something was going on with Huizar and 13-year-old ‘Jane Doe’. According to people living in Yakima at the time, Jane was public on social media about it. 

Huizar greets a group of students at Washington Middle School / Facebook: Yakima Police Department

Murray, who moved to Yakima from Colorado to become police chief  in April of 2019,  said he was alerted right away about the allegations swirling around Huizar. Murray said two sex crime investigators from the Office of the Washington Attorney General were called in to look into the allegations. In a phone interview with the chief on March 15, 2024, Murray said the two investigators found “zero evidence.” 

Murray said that a member of Jane’s family told investigators “she couldn’t be believed” and that she “made things up.” The investigators couldn’t find any physical evidence such as text messages and emails between Huizar and the student. 

Huizar filed a Anti-Harassment Protective Order  against the minor student on September 20, 2019, about a year after he became SRO at her school. According to the Tri-City Herald and Chief Murray, Jane had called Huizar at his home and his wife found out about her. The child had told friends at school about their sexual contact and the other students had reported it to the principal. She also sent social media messages about Huizar but then claimed her account had been hacked. She was eventually expelled from school. 

After the administrative case ended, Huizar wanted to stay at Washington Hills Middle School, but Chief Murray said that he transferred him to another middle school in the district in the fall of 2019. 

By December, Benton County Superior Court records show that  Huizar’s marriage was over. According to Murray, Huizar’s ex-wife was an underaged student wrestler that he had coached when they first met.

Under investigation at work 

Domestic violence call to West Richland Police

Lieutenant Chad Janis of the Yakima Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit wrote on April 12, 2021 that Huizar had been involved in multiple incidents which resulted in the police being called while he was on leave. One of them occurred at  Wiley Elementary in the Richland School District between Huizar and his ex-wife. 

On the same day, Captain Grego sent this email to his team of West Richland Police:

“Team, Some of you have taken reports for or about Officer Elias Huizar, an employee [of] Yakima PD, who is currently on leave and lives in our city. The concerns relayed to me include the situation between he and his wife is escalating [sic] due a pending divorce, and Elias possibly making false reports during the investigations. Please continue to investigate any reports you receive about or from Elias just like any other. If officer safety issues surface during your investigation please relay the info to the rest of the team!”

Murray said, “It was clear that Huizar was spiraling out of control.” 

He referred the case out of Yakima, as a department cannot investigate one of their own personnel. In April of 2021, Huizar was investigated for an Excessive Use of Force, Discipline, Criminal Charge or Suspension

The investigating agency was the Union Gap Police Department. Here is the report text:

“April of 2021 this officer came under internal investigation as the result of a conduct that occurred off-duty involving a family or household member. Pursuant to policy he was investigated for misconduct. At the time of the investigation this officer was on extended leave as a result of a non-disciplinary matter.”

In the summer of 2021, for reasons that are unclear, Huizar began 191 days of leave. Investigations then began because of his conduct. Chief Murray, who confirmed that the only loss of pay during that time was a sixteen hour suspension “for failing to report the domestic violence incident at Wiley Elementary” in West Richland.

From a report regarding Huizar from the Yakima Police Department: 

December 2021, the investigation was completed and a sustained finding for the misconduct was made. During the internal investigation, unconfirmed information suggesting that he had engaged in a relationship* that could have been illegal prior to working as a police officer was disclosed. Due to a conflict with internal affairs criminally investigating this officer after potentially Garrity* information was disclosed, the investigation was turned over to another law enforcement agency to determine the veracity of the allegations. At the time of this notice we do not know the case number investigation is ongoing and no finding has been made.

According to Murray, the relationship mentioned in the report was between Huizar and his now ex-wife. Huizar was her wrestling coach when they met. 

Murray said, “During our final internal investigation we came across information which could have been potentially criminal. We asked the Union Gap Police Department to investigate and they graciously did so. They were unable to discover sufficient evidence to pursue a criminal complaint.” 

The Notice of Officer Separation documents dated February 14, 2022 state that Huizar was “not eligible to be rehired by the Yakima Police Department.”

Huizar is hired by Richland School District

Huizar became a building sub at Jefferson Elementary in 2022 / Facebook: Richland School District

Sexual harassment / misconduct training and background check

Huizar applied to work for the school district in August 2021 while still an employee of the YPD.  He applied to the district and to obtain an emergency substitute certificate through the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. A background check would have to have been completed with fingerprint analysis before Huizar could have been hired. 

Since Huizar had not been convicted of any crimes, the background check would not have revealed his past run-ins with the law. 

When we asked Chief Murray whether he had advised Richland Public School District about any of the investigations of Huizar, he said that he was unaware of Huizar applying to the school district. “We do not track former employees,” he added.

“Typically, all of those (that are non-law enforcement as those have some legal requirements) would be referred to Yakima Human Resources.  I spoke with them and the city verifies facts (like dates of employment) but does not make recommendations.”

In his application to teach, Huizar would have had to list previous employers, as well. (Tumbleweird has asked for those documents through a public records request, but has yet to receive them.) 

In February 2022, Huizar was hired by the Richland School District and then officially separated from employment with the Yakima Police Department.

He acknowledged by signature that he completed the school district’s required sexual misconduct/harassment training. On March 7, Huizar became the official building sub at Jefferson Elementary. He would be in the building every day working as a sub where needed. Huizar was also approved in October 2023 to be a volunteer wrestling coach at Richland High School. 

Huizar arrested in West Richland

According to the WRPD reports, at the time of the arrest, Huizar lived in West Richland with a 17-year-old girl, the very same person that Huizar filed an anti-harassment protection order against when she was a 13-year-old middle school student at Washington Hills in Yakima, where Huizar had been working as an SRO. 

Huizar impregnated the student when she was 15 years old, and that they have stayed together since the birth of their child.  

According to the WRPD  reports, on February 3, Huizar supplied two minors with alcohol — Jane and her friend — and all three of them spent the night drinking. Jane’s 16-year-old friend had gotten sick and gone to sleep in a guest bedroom. Jane went to sleep next to her friend and woke up to find Huizar sexually assaulting the 16-year-old girl. Jane and Huizar argued and the girls took the baby and left in his truck. Huizar attempted to block the girls from leaving, but they were able to get away. When they saw that Huizar was following them, they called the police. 

The girls went to the nearest populated location, a local gas station, and waited for the police to arrive. The police report notes that both girls appeared very intoxicated. At that time, Jane also informed the responding officers that Huizar had guns. 

Standoff with SWAT team

When police arrived at his home, Huizar refused to cooperate. The SWAT team was called in and it took two hours to arrest him. SWAT used flash bangs and megaphones to try to get through to Huizar. He was calling and speaking to Jane throughout the standoff. 

According to police reports, Huizar was attempting to hide evidence during the hours the SWAT team was negotiating with him. He was located in the laundry room with the washer running when the SWAT team was finally able to arrest Huizar. He had been washing the guest bedroom’s sheets and comforter. 

Officer Roman Kilinkaridis wrote “We located a red/gray comforter, red bed sheets, and gray furry blanket…the red and gray comforter had white stains (possibly body fluids)…”

From the evidence sheet, it appears that a Colt Rifle, two loaded rifle mags, a Glock 23 pistol, and loaded magazines were taken from the residence after the standoff. 

Huizar, who made $20 an hour as a substitute teacher, had a large amount of cash hidden in the house at the time of his arrest — $15,260, was found in an envelope. Police also located a backpack that contained (among other things) Huizar’s old Franklin Middle School ID badge. 

Officer I. Suarez in his police report noted that an ultrasound photo belonging to Jane showed that she would have been only 15 years old when she conceived her baby with Huizar. 

Huizar faces several charges, including 2nd Degree Rape and Furnishing Alcohol for Minors. He was booked on the charge of 2nd Degree Rape. 

Huizar is being charged separately with 3rd Degree Rape for his relationship with 17-year-old Jane. WRPD Detective Grimes noted in his report that since the girl was only 15 years old when she was impregnated by Elias, who was 37 at the time, it constituted a crime of 3rd degree rape of a child

Where things stand currently

Huizar’s bail was set at $200,000 but he has since bonded out of jail with stipulations that he doesn't contact either of the teens or consume any alcohol. 

The YPD reports show that Huizar made several phone calls the day he was arrested to both victims. 

The Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC) gave Huizar notice on February 7, 2024, that they were conducting an investigation into misconduct. In the letter, they listed Huizar’s officer certification as Under Review. According to the letter, the WSCJTC is “committed to enhancing peace officer and corrections officer accountability as well as public trust and confidence in the criminal justice system. All complaints and agency reports alleging law enforcement officer misconduct are thoroughly reviewed.” The letter goes on to say that a certified officer may surrender their certification, and Huizar was given directions on how to do that. 

On February 9, 2024, Huizar’s ex-wife filed a Civil Protection Order against him. On February 22, 2024, another unnamed minor received a Sexual Assault Protection Order. Huizar pled “not guilty” when he appeared in court on February 15. The trial date has been set for April 22, 2024, with a pre-trial date of April 4.

Over his checkered career, Huizar has managed to be hired to work with children as a teacher, a wrestling coach, and a police department SRO. 

This is a reminder to all that those in positions of authority have a lot of access to children. It is important to remain vigilant. 

Public records about this case are available at