December 6, 2017 - 4:40 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — The Rock Valley man accused of murdering his grandfather and then setting a fire to hide the evidence has now been formally charged.

Shortly before 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 29th, Rock Valley firefighters were called to the report of a house fire at 1416 15th Street in Rock Valley. Upon arrival, firefighters discovered a portion of the house was fully engulfed by fire, and they were told there was someone inside the dwelling. Firefighters gained entry into the residence, extinguished the fire, and discovered the body of 84-year old Luis Luevanos inside the residence.

Luevanos death sparked an investigation which led investigators to believe that he had been stabbed to death prior to the fire being intentionally set.

The victim’s grandson, Santos Rodriguez, Jr. had lived in his grandfather’s home prior to the fire. Investigators say Rodriguez traveled to Utah after the fire.

Agents from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation traveled to Utah and interviewed Rodriguez. Officials say he admitted to stabbing his grandfather and intentionally setting the fire afterward.

On Monday, Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle filed documents formally charging Rodriguez with First Degree Murder, a class A felony; and First Degree Arson, a class B felony.

Iowa code stipulates that if he pleads guilty or is convicted of First Degree Murder, Rodriguez would face life in prison. If he pleads guilty or is convicted of First Degree Arson, he could face up to 25 years in prison.

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