Most Wanted: Garden Grove PD seeks leads on man who killed mother of three

By Elysse James

Marisela Sandoval, 22, was shot to death by her long-term, on-again/off-again boyfriend, Miguel Angel Rangel, in front of their 6-year-old son on July 27, 1998, in Garden Grove.

Police are still searching for Rangel, who is wanted for murder and possession of a controlled substance.

“He was just a straight-up criminal,” Garden Grove PD Det. Michael Farley said. “He had a fairly significant rap sheet… and a history of violence, especially with regard to her. They used to fight a lot.”

Marisela Sandoval, 22, was killed by her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Miguel Rangel, in 1998. Rangel is wanted by the Garden Grove Police Department. Photo provided by the Garden Grove Police Department.

Rangel, now 42, is on both the Orange County District Attorney’s and the Garden Grove Police Department’s Most Wanted lists, Farley said. A million-dollar arrest warrant was issued on April 24, 2000.

The night she died, Sandoval was arguing with Rangel at their condo in the 13000 block of Ferndale Avenue, where the two lived with their young children, ages 6, 3, and infant.

Though police aren’t certain what the argument was about, based on the evidence she was likely breaking up with Rangel or leaving him, Farley said. Rangel was a drug dealer, and though Sandoval “dabbled in the lifestyle a little bit,” Farley said, “she was trying to extricate herself from that lifestyle.” This was an argument they’d had more than once.

During the argument, Sandoval locked herself in a downstairs bedroom, and when Rangel tried to get into the room she pushed a window screen out of its frame and escaped with Rangel’s handgun, heading for her car. The couple’s oldest child followed his mother through the window.

Rangel left the condo through the front door and chased after Sandoval. That’s when Sandoval either fell or was pushed to the ground and Rangel grabbed the gun, Farley said. He fired several rounds at close range, killing the mother of his three children. Their son was standing nearby.

Rangel then fled, using a vehicle that officials recovered the next day.

The children are now all doing well, and are living in Southern California under new identities, Farley said.

Rangel, who was 5 feet, 9 inches and 175 pounds, was also known by the names Rangel-Flores and Colorado Mike, a nickname he picked up during a short stint living in the Centennial State with Sandoval.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Terra Ramirez at 714-741-5800.