Navarro Girl Raped & Beaten

by Bruce Anderson, July 30, 2008

A 14-year-old Navarro girl was raped and severely beaten Friday night and into Saturday morning by two Philo men the victim has identified as Julio Rengal-Ceja, 18, and Jose Lopez Garibay, 29.

A group of young people, including the victim, had gathered on the grounds of the Anderson Valley Health Center to drink and smoke marijuana. This event, chastely referred to in the Sheriff's Department press release as a "social gathering," was attended by a number of local criminals, some of them with gang affiliations.

Late in the evening, Rengal-Ceja invited the victim to drive with him and Garibay, in Garibay's pick-up truck, to another party, which turned out not to exist.

The victim willingly entered the vehicle because she knows Rengal-Ceja. The two men drove to lower Greenwood Road near Hendy Woods where they took turns raping the girl. She was also beaten by the men before they drove back towards Boonville where she was again raped and beaten on Peachland Road.

In fear for her life during her Peachland ordeal, the girl fought Garibay. She was able to kick out a side window of his truck, stab him with a broken beer bottle then run for her life barefoot down Peachland Road to Highway 128 where a person or persons not yet identified drove her to her home near Navarro. From Navarro, the 14-year-old was transported to the Ukiah Valley Medical Center where she was treated and released to the custody of her parents late Saturday.

A person close to the family of the victim described the girl's feet as "just raw. And they worked the rest of her over pretty good, too. She's probably lucky to be alive."

Garibay's truck was found the next day on the Vista Ranch, his blood-soaked singlet in the bed of the truck.

The 14-year-old victim was believed to be romantically involved with Rengal-Ceja, a young man with a history of assaults as a juvenile, including one where he was shot in the leg in a Ukiah gang melee. Rengal-Ceja also led a group attack last year on a young employee of the now-defunct High Pockety Ox in Boonville, and he was involved in several robberies of students at Anderson Valley High School where he was a student before dropping out after his sophomore year. Two Anderson Valley High School students brought a loaded handgun onto the school grounds last year to defend themselves, they claimed, against Rengal-Ceja who, with a small group of other delinquents, often loitered near the high school harassing local young people and sometimes robbing them.

Rengal-Ceja is believed to be employed during the summer months tending marijuana gardens for the larger Mexican syndicates with ties to the Anderson Valley. He lives with his mother near Lemons' Market in Philo.

Rengal-Ceja's older brother, Edgar, was deported several years ago following his conviction for the rape of a 12-year-old girl. Edgar is believed to be in prison in Mexico.

Jose Lopez Garibay is a vineyard worker for Kendall-Jackson. He also tends marijuana gardens. Garibay is regarded by the Anderson Valley's Mexican community as a thug and, in the words of a relative, "loco."

The Garibays live with their seven-year-old son on a Philo property owned by John Scharffenberger. Garibay's wife is said to be suffering from cancer.

Garibay ignited a soccer brawl last year at Tom Smith Field near the High School when he suddenly struck the father of two players on a rival team. People who know him have warned the police that Garibay is probably armed and likely to shoot or stab anyone who tries to arrest him.

Police speculate that both suspects have fled south for Mexico. Other people claim that they are hiding in marijuana gardens deep in the west hills of Anderson Valley.

There is much anger in both the Mexican and Anglo communities of Anderson Valley at this latest outrage committed by Rangel-Ceja. He's universally viewed as a roving menace who should have been deported years ago.

Garibay is viewed with comparable contempt.

A number of Mexican men have been heard threatening to kill both Rengal-Ceja and Garibay if they find them before the police do. The Anglo sectors of the community, including the victim's father, have expressed similar sentiments.

Update (August 6, 2008)

THE TWO ACCUSED RAPISTS, Julio Rengal-Ceja and Jose Lopez Garibay, have not been apprehended. The pair was identified by their 14-year-old victim as the men who beat and sexually assaulted her two Saturday nights ago. She told police that she got into Garibay's truck with the two because she knew Rangel and trusted him. Rangel-Ceja and Garibay proceeded to beat and rape the Navarro girl at a location near Hendy Woods then, a second attack by Garibay, acting alone, was carried out on Peachland Road. During the second assault, the girl stabbed Garibay in his face and stomach with a broken off beer bottle before fleeing barefooted down Peachland Road where she was driven home then to the Ukiah Valley Medical Center for treatment. Various reports, none of them substantiated, has placed the two fugitives in Mexico, somewhere in Lake County or hiding in marijuana gardens in the hills west of Anderson Valley.

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