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Nearly two decades ago, a young mother’s body was found partially naked on the side of a Texas road. Months later, her roommate was found dead in an eerily similar manner. Now authorities believe they've identified her killer.
Cynthia Joann Palacio, 21, was found dead on a rural roadside in Lubbock County in July 2003, “partially nude and strangled,” the Texas Department of Public Safety stated in a press release. She left behind a 2-year-old daughter.
Andy Castillo, 57, of Lubbock, was charged with her murder last week, following a lengthy investigation by both Texas Rangers and the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office. A recent alert in the DNA database CODIS led investigators “to focus their attention on Castillo,” according to the press release.
The investigation into Palacio’s murder has been linked to another homicide with a strong connection and striking similarities. Linda Trevino Carbajal, 21, was found strangled on a rural road in Lubbock county in April 2004. She'd also suffered blunt force injuries. It turned out that Carbajal and Palacio had been roommates, the Waco Tribune reports.
It’s not clear if Castillo will be charged in connection with Carbajal's murder. However, officials seem certain that he victimized others.
”A lot of women have been victimized by this creep,” McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara told KWTX.
Castillo was already behind bars when investigators accused him of killing Palacio. He was in a Waco jail on an unrelated charge of criminal solicitation to commit child sexual assault. He was arrested in January after allegedly threatening to rape real estate agents’ children, KWTX reports.
“There were a lot of ladies that were very, very scared because of what this individual was doing and putting out there to them,” McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara told KWTX.
McNamara said that Castillo may have harassed around 100 realtors in about 20 different cities and 10 different states.
“One of our duties in law enforcement is to pursue every lead and seek justice for victims and their families, even when the case runs cold,” Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said following the break in the Palacio case. “I’m proud of the diligent efforts by the Texas Rangers and the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office to solve this nearly two-decade-old case and find justice for a young woman who was brutally murdered.”
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