On March 3, 2013 an investigation by the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) began at 240 Four Mile Road in Freeport. Deputies were at the home for an unrelated matter when deputies observed 6 horses that appeared to be in poor health. On March 4th, deputies returned with a vet and animal control officers to assess the conditions of the horses. Four of the horses were immediately removed and transported to Alaqua Animal Refuge.
Investigators then began to look further into the maltreatment of the horses, as well as other animals present at the residence. On March 7th, authorities removed the other two horses, four puppies and one piglet. Two arrests were made during the animal abuse investigation. Crystal Sue Esquibel, 27, and James Richard Holzapfel III, 37, were charged with 11 counts of animal cruelty, a third degree felony. All of the horses and the piglet were transported and treated at Alaqua Animal Refuge. The puppies were taken to the Walton County Animal Shelter for treatment.
Esquibel and Holzapfel were transported and booked into the Walton County Department of Corrections.