[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
The search for a missing young mother in California has ended tragically. But now it seems her murder case is just beginning.
Rachel Castillo (pictured above) had been missing for several days after loved ones reported her absence late last week from the Los Angeles suburb of Simi Valley. The 25-year-old, who lived with her two children and her sister Emily Castillo, went missing from the siblings’ apartment on Thursday of last week.
Emily was the first to note her beloved sister’s disappearance on Thursday when she returned home to find “a significant amount of blood” in the apartment. According to a press release from the Simi Valley PD, Emily immediately called 911 to report the scary discovery. Cops responding to the scene confirmed the bloody aftermath and determined there were other “signs of a struggle” in the apartment as well. Adding to the mystery, Rachel’s personal belongings — including her cell phone, purse, car, and car keys — were all still at the apartment.
Detectives in Simi Valley worked leads on Rachel’s disappearance through the weekend. On Sunday afternoon, according to the Simi Valley Acorn, tips led investigators to a remote area of the high desert in the Antelope Valley north of Los Angeles. There, unfortunately, they found her remains.
Police already had their eye on a suspect: her ex-husband, Zarbab Ali. And it didn’t take long to get everything they needed for an arrest.
Just hours after the discovery, police descended on Ali’s family home in nearby Victorville to take him into custory. In a Sunday evening press release shared with the Acorn, the Simi Valley PD stated:
“The primary suspect in this case, is Rachel’s ex-husband, 25-year-old City of Hawthorne resident, Zarbab Ali. Mr. Ali was arrested, this afternoon at his parent’s home in Victorville, in connection to Rachel’s homicide. This investigation has rapidly evolved over the past few days. This case is still under investigation and some details cannot be released due to legal and investigative reasons.”
Clearly it seems whatever they aren’t telling the public must include some rock solid evidence — they’ve already charged Ali with felony murder.
According to People, Ali — who is reportedly a math teacher — is being held in Ventura County Jail. His bail has been set at $510,000. As of Monday morning, it is unclear whether Ali has entered a plea or retained an attorney.
According to the Associated Press, Rachel was studying for her master’s degree in clinical psychology at nearby Pepperdine University. She had plans to become a marriage and family therapist. Along with her sister, she shared the apartment with her 2-year-old and 5-year-old sons.
Now, instead, her loved ones are left to mourn her tragic death. Rachel’s mother, Robyn Castillo, spoke to ABC 7 on Sunday. She called Rachel “a really good mother, a good sister and daughter and friend.”
Robyn also told the outlet that before her daughter’s body was discovered, Ali had reached out and “expressed his concerns” about Rachel’s well-being:
“He said he was very sorry and hoped that she was OK. It seemed like a very normal conversation.”
Days later, Ali was arrested and charged with her murder. Here is the latest from the tragic investigation:
Such a heartbreaking end to this awful story. We send our condolences to Castillo’s loved ones.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, help is available. Consider calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233, or text START to 88788, or go to https://www.thehotline.org/.