WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A beloved grandmother, at home alone in her small apartment, was found dead by her son on February 9, 2008. It mirrored a murder that happened only 3 miles away exactly two years earlier. People have reason to believe she was not the only victim of the killer.
The memory of a murder was still fresh when West Valley Police got the call that Sunday Morning. It was another victim. this time it was Damiana Castillo.
"It was very unusual for her to not be in church on a Sunday morning," said Sergeant Mike Powell. "She would typically attend church on Sunday morning. She was very prompt and for her not to be at church was very concerning not only for her congregation but for her family as well. Her son came over and subsequently found his mother, lying dead on the floor in her apartment."
The West Valley crime scene was eerily similar to the Taylorsville crime scene two years earlier, where Sonia Mejia and her unborn child were killed in her home.
Both women were strangled by a man who had forced his way in and attacked them.
Inside Castillo’s apartment was an undeniable link between the two crimes.
"The link has been made through forensic evidence and we have been able to identify a single, male suspect," says Sargent Mike Powell.
It was the same DNA in both apartments.
Now the final step to solving these crimes is linking the forensic evidence to a face and a name. To get a match in the nationwide data bank, the killer has to be arrested and processed from another crime somewhere else in America.
Police do not want to wait for this process. They need anyone who thinks they know who he is to speak out. The set back is all the witnesses speak spanish.
"We do not want anyone to be affraid to come forward. No matter the reason whether it be safety, whether it be legal status," says Chief Del Craig of the Taylorsville Police.
"If they’re undocumented, they shouldn’t have to fear that they’re going to be deported or anything," says Tony Yapias leader of Projecto Latino.
Until this crime is solved, women in the area continue to live in fear.
"I’m scared for me and my daughter to be… sometimes I stay at home alone," says Elizabeth Berelezza, the former neighbor of Castillo.
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