Suspect in Lubbock cold case murders dies in custody
A 58-year old man charged with capital murder in the deaths of two women in 2003 and 2004 died Friday after he was taken to a Lubbock hospital, officials said Monday.
According to a news release from the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office, Andy Castillo who is charged in connection with the deaths of Cynthia Palacio and Linda Trevino Carbajal, died Friday at University Medical Center.
However, the release did not provide a cause of his death and stated the Lubbock Metropolitan Special Crimes Unit is investigating.
The Regional Public Defender's Office, which represented Castillo, declined to comment.
Castillo has been held at the Lubbock County Detention Center since Sept. 11 of 2020 - about a week after a warrant for his arrest was issued in connection with Palacio's death.
Before that, Castillo was being held at the McLennan County Jail since January 2020 on several felony counts of criminal solicitation of aggravated sexual assault of a child and stalking after he allegedly threatened Waco-area real estate agents and their children, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported.
DNA evidence linked Castillo to Palacio's death, according to an arrest warrant.
Palacio's body was found July 15, 2003 partially nude on County Road 7800.
An autopsy showed she was strangled to death, the warrant states.
Forensic scientists swabbed her fingernails, an undisclosed dried substance on her left thigh, her necklace and her blouse. The biological evidence was sent to a Texas Department of Public Safety lab for analysis.
On April 19, 2004, the body of 21-year-old Linda Trevino Carbajal was found along a rural dirt road in northern Lubbock County, according to a DPS news release and A-J Media archives.
Carbajal suffered blunt force injuries and had been strangled.
Both cases would remain unsolved until 2020.
According to the warrant, Castillo provided a DNA sample when he was arrested in January 2020 in Lubbock in connection with the McLennan County Sheriff's Office's investigation into the threats he made in Waco.
In May, a Texas Ranger sent Castillo's DNA profile to the Texas Department of Public Safety crime lab for analysis.
In August 2020, a report from the analysis linked Castillo's DNA profile to the biological evidence found on Palacio's clothing, jewelry and body.
Officials said Castillo was linked to Carbajal's death in a similar fashion.
However, the warrant did not disclose a motive for the slayings.
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - It has been 17 years since the murder of 21-year-old Cynthia Joann Palacio in Lubbock. Now, authorities say the murder has been solved.
An investigation into the harassment of a Waco realtor led to the discovery. Authorities say 57-year-old Andy Castillo has been arrested and charged with Palacio’s murder.
“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,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “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.”
In January, Castillo was arrested by Lubbock PD in connection with the harassment of some Waco-area real estate agents who said they were receiving lewd messages from someone threatening to rape their children.
The McLennan County Sheriff’s Office human trafficking team used technology and intel to track down Castillo in Lubbock.
During the investigation, deputies found possibly 100 realtors in around 20 cities and 10 states had been harassed by Castillo.
Lubbock Police took a DNA sample from Castillo before he was taken to Waco. Once in Waco, he was charged with one count of stalking and two counts of criminal solicitation-aggravated sexual assault of a child.
McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara says, “A lot of women have been victimized by this creep.”
Authorities say one of those women was Cynthia Palacio.
“There’s no question in our mind that he committed this murder,” said McNamara.
In July of 2003, around 7 a.m., a mother with her young daughter in the car saw something in the distance, and wondered if it was real. After a 911 call and an investigation, police confirmed a young woman’s body, naked from the waist down, was dumped on a county road not far from Slaton, Texas. She was identified as Cynthia Palacio. She had a 2-year-old daughter at the time.
Now, because of the investigation into Andy Castillo, the Texas Rangers have matched the semen found on her thigh, along with other DNA evidence obtained from her fingernails, blouse and necklace to Castillo, who is still an inmate in the McLennan County Jail.
In 2005, investigators linked the murder of Palacio to another murder that happened in April of 2004. Palacio’s roommate, 21-year-old Linda Carbajal, who was found partially nude on a County Road near New Deal. Investigators say DNA evidence confirmed the two murders were connected.
The Assistant Police Chief in 2014, Deputy Doug Sutton, told KCBD he believed the vehicle that dumped Palacio’s body may have been a pickup or vehicle with heavy tires. He believed it could be the same truck that dumped Carbajal’s body a year later.
Palacio and Carbajal were roommates, born in the same month of the same year, both 21-years-old when they died, and both dumped on remote county roads.
On November 13, 2002, KCBD interviewed Carbajal in the Lubbock County Jail. She had just been arrested for prostitution. “It’s very dangerous. I ask myself sometimes why...I’m surprised I’m alive to this day,” Carbajal said.
“I’ve been through a lot,” she said. “I’ve had my friends killed in front of me. I’ve seen a lot.”
She was jailed 39 times. In the 2002 interview, Carbajal told KCBD that this time would be the last because she wanted to better herself for her daughter and grandmother because “life is too short.”
One year later, she was found dead.
With the Palacio’s murder now added to Castillo’s charges, his bonds now total more than $1.5 million.
At some point, Castillo will be brought back to Lubbock to stand trial.
Copyright 2020 KCBD. All rights reserved.
Seventeen years after a young mother was found strangled in southeast Lubbock County, investigators think they’ve found the killer.
Authorities served Andy Castillo, 57, with an arrest warrant after the federal DNA database linked him to the slaying, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Friday.
At the time, Castillo was in McLennan County Jail in Waco on unrelated charges of solicitation to commit child sexual assault.
He is charged with murder in the death of Cynthia Joann Palacio, 21, whose body was found partially nude on a rural dirt road on July 15, 2003. Palacio was survived by a daughter who was 2 years old at the time.
The investigation was conducted by the Texas Rangers and the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office.
“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,” said DPS director Steven McCraw. “I’m proud of the diligent efforts ... to solve this nearly two-decade-old case and find justice for a young woman who was brutally murdered.”
The investigation into Palacio’s death has been linked to another homicide — the April 2004 killing of Linda Trevino Carbajal, which remains under investigation. Carbajal, also 21, was found strangled on a rural road in northern Lubbock County; she had suffered blunt force injuries. No arrests have been made in that case.
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A Lubbock man, linked by investigators to the 2003 death of Cynthia Palacio and the 2004 death of her roommate, Linda Carbajal, died while in custody at the Lubbock County Detention Center. The jail roster says Andy Castillo, 58, was “released, deceased” on Friday, Aug. 27 at 4:33 p.m.
The cause of his death has not been released, however, officials from the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office says he passed away at University Medical Center.
Andy Castillo, 57, was arrested by Lubbock PD in January 2020 in connection with the harassment of some Waco-area real estate agents who said they were receiving lewd messages from someone threatening to rape their children.
Castillo was charged with one count of stalking and two counts of criminal solicitation-aggravated sexual assault of a child, relating to the Waco-area cases. Those charges were dropped when the Lubbock County grand jury indicted him on capital murder charges for the deaths of Cynthia Palacio and Linda Carbajal.
Palacio and Carbajal, both 21, were murdered in 2003 and 2004. Their deaths were eventually linked by DNA evidence found at both scenes.
MORE:Arrest made in 2003 cold case murder of Cynthia Palacio
Last September, investigators revealed they linked the DNA evidence from Palacio’s body to Castillo.
According to court documents, DNA evidence was originally taken from Palacio’s thigh and under her fingernails, as well as on her necklace and blouse. After Castillo’s arrest relating to the Waco-area cases, authorities were able to obtain a DNA sample and match it to the DNA found with Palacio.
Copyright 2021 KCBD. All rights reserved.
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