Crime & Police Reports

Vermont State Police makes arrests in connection with St. Johnsbury homicide

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JOHNSBURY, Vermont (Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023) — The Vermont State Police on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, arrested four suspects in connection with the fatal shooting last month of Israel Jimenez Lugo, 49, at the St. Johnsbury apartment house where he lived. VSP was assisted by the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations during the arrests.

The suspects and charges are:

Rafael Rodriguez, 34, of St. Johnsbury: First-degree murder, assault and robbery, and burglary of an occupied dwelling while armed.

  • Natasha Cady, 29, of Barton: Aiding in the commission of first-degree murder, aiding in the commission of assault and robbery, and aiding in the commission of burglary into an occupied dwelling while armed.
  • Natasha Cady, 29, of Barton is seen in a booking photo taken Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, at the Vermont State Police barracks in St. Johnsbury.
  • Brittany Clark, 33, of St. Johnsbury: Aiding in the commission of first-degree murder, aiding in the commission of assault and robbery, and burglary into an occupied dwelling.
  • Brittany Clark, 33, of St. Johnsbury is seen in a booking photo taken Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, at the Vermont State Police barracks in St. Johnsbury.
  • Michael Ringuette, 55, of St. Johnsbury: Aiding in the commission of first-degree murder, aiding in the commission of assault and robbery, burglary into an occupied dwelling, and unlawful restraint.
  • Michael Ringuette, 55, of St. Johnsbury is seen in a booking photo taken Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, at the Vermont State Police barracks in St. Johnsbury.

According to court papers prepared by investigators, the four suspects are alleged to have been involved with buying and selling illegal drugs and participated in a plan to rob Jimenez Lugo. During the commission of the robbery, which took place overnight Dec. 13-14, 2022, Rodriguez fatally shot Jimenez Lugo.

Rodriguez and Ringuette were ordered held without bail, and Cady and Clark for lack of $50,000 bail pending arraignment hearings, which are expected to occur at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, in the Criminal Division of Vermont Superior Court in St. Johnsbury.

The Vermont State Police worked closely on this investigation with Caledonia County State’s Attorney’s Office. The investigation remains active and ongoing. Police continue to request that anyone with information that could assist detectives call the Vermont State Police in St. Johnsbury at 802-748-3111 or provide an anonymous tip online at https://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.

Further information is contained in the affidavit of probable cause, which will be filed with the court and made public following the defendants’ arraignments. Members of the media should call the Court Clerk’s Office to confirm details of the hearing.

***Update No. 2, 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022***

As the investigation into Wednesday’s fatal shooting in St. Johnsbury continues, the Vermont State Police is able to identify the victim as Israel Jimenez Lugo, 49, who lived in the home at 78 Hastings Street where the incident occurred.

An autopsy performed Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington determined the cause of death to be a gunshot wound to the torso, and the manner of death to be a homicide.

Investigators have completed processing the scene where the shooting occurred. The state police continues to ask that anyone with information that could assist investigators call the Vermont State Police in St. Johnsbury at 802-748-3111 or provide an anonymous tip online at https://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.

Further updates will be provided as the investigation proceeds.

**Update No. 1, 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022***

Maj. Dan Trudeau, commander of the Vermont State Police Criminal Division, will be available to discuss this case with members of the media at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Vermont State Police barracks in St. Johnsbury. The barracks is located at 1068 U.S. Route 5.

***Initial news release, 1:10 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022***

The Vermont State Police is investigating a suspicious death in St. Johnsbury.

The investigation began after the St. Johnsbury Police Department received a call at about 9:45 a.m. Wednesday requesting a welfare check at 78 Hastings St. for a report that an individual may have been shot. Responding officers arrived on scene and confirmed that an individual was deceased inside the residence. St. Johnsbury police requested the Vermont State Police respond and lead the investigation.

This investigation is in its earliest stages and involves members of the Vermont State Police Major Crime Unit, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Crime Scene Search Team and Victim Services Unit. The St. Johnsbury Police Department is providing assistance.

Following processing of the crime scene by investigators, the body of the victim will be brought to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington for an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death. The victim’s identity is being withheld pending further investigation notification of next of kin.

Anyone with information that could assist investigators in this case is asked to call the Vermont State Police in St. Johnsbury at 802-748-3111. Tips also may be submitted anonymously online at https://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.

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