Raquel was born to Emilio and Juanita Santos on October 15, 1977. She was the third of five children. The family was middle class with both parents working. Emilio worked nights and Juanita worked days. Neither parent was very involved in their children’s lives. They provided food and clothing but didn’t get to spend any quality time with any of the children. Neither Raquel nor any of her siblings furthered their educations after high school. Raquel quit school when she was 17.
Two months later, Raquel started cleaning houses for elderly neighbors. She was very meticulous about her work and soon she was sought after by the rich. Eventually she gave up all her cleaning jobs to work full-time as a maid/housekeeper for Mr. and Mrs. Larry Wilkins. As the Wilkins grew older, they asked Raquel to move into the spare bedroom. Along with her salary, she would receive free room and board. She was happy to move in and was content with her life.
When Raquel was 25, Larry Wilkins died suddenly of a heart attack. A short time later, Emma Wilkins, the couple's only daughter, placed her mother in a nursing home, where Mrs. Wilkins died one year later. Raquel had worked for them for six years.
When Mrs. Wilkins moved to the nursing home, Raquel returned to cleaning several houses a week to make ends meet. When Mrs. Wilkins died, Raquel was asked to be present at the reading of the will. She was left $10,000 and a referral letter.
Raquel met Benito Flores at a local singles dance in February 2007, and they started dating right away. “Benny” made Raquel feel alive again and she agreed to move in with him.
Benny came home one afternoon and told Raquel that his buddy’s boss would be hiring a new maid soon. She called the number he gave, and she was given a time for an interview the next day. Philip Fontaine interviewed her and hired her to begin work the following week. She was paid well and worked 12-hour days.
Raquel was still an employee at the Fontaine residence the night Philip Fontaine was found murdered.