Raquel was born to Emilio and Juanita Santos on October 15, 1985. She was the third of five children, and her parents worked hard to provide for their family. Emilio worked nights, and Juanita worked days, which didn't leave either of them much time to be involved in their children's lives beyond making sure they were clothed and fed every day. 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 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 Wilkinses grew older, they began to need more help with their day-to-day tasks, so they asked Raquel to move in, offering her their spare bedroom. Along with her salary, she would receive free room and board. Happy to assist the employers who had treated her so well, Raquel accepted, also recognizing that the opportunity to build a nest egg for herself was too good to pass up.
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.
After six years with the Wilkenses, Raquel found herself in need of both a job and a place to live, so she returned to cleaning several houses a week to make ends meet.
When Mrs. Wilkins died a year later, she left Raquel $10,000 and a glowing referral letter. Raquel added the windfall to her savings and used the letter to get jobs cleaning for several of Oxford's wealthiest families, though she never accepted another live-in position.
In February 2015, Raquel met Benito Flores at a local singles dance, 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 made an appointment 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 of the Fontaine family when Philip Fontaine was found murdered.