Man charged for murder of estranged wife

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (WUSA9) -- Braulio Castillo, President and CEO of the Northern Virginia security company Strong Castle Inc., is charged with first degree murder in the March 20 death of his wife Michelle Castillo.

Last June, Mr. Castillo, 48, was berated in a Congressional hearing for lying about being a wounded veteran to secure a lucrative contract.

Now, Loudoun investigators say he beat and suffocated his wife, then tried to make it look like a suicide. Friends and neighbors didn't believe the mother of five would kill herself. They say they suspected her estranged husband from the beginning.

Court documents say 43-year-old Michelle Castillo's body was found by Sheriff's deputies hanging from the shower in her basement the morning of March 20th.

"It was a suspicious death form the start," says Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman. The medical examiner has ruled the cause of death suffocation.

Sheriff Mike Chapman says the cause of death was suffocation which happened prior to her being hanged. Her body and face had also been beaten.

Sheriff Chapman says neighbor's surveillance cameras caught Castillo sneaking into the home the night before, on March 19, at 8:09 p.m., just ten minutes before his wife and children were seen driving up the driveway. The cameras also caught him leaving the home at 12:31 a.m. on March 20.

Investigators believe Castillo laid in wait until the children went to sleep, and then murdered his wife.

The Castillos have five children ranging in age from 4 to 21 years old. Investigators believe Castillo hid their mother's body until morning, after the children called him because they could not find her. One of the children, court documents say, had searched the basement bathroom and had seen nothing. When Castillo arrived, he searched the basement alone, and court documents say it's believed that's when he staged the murder to look like a suicide.

A neighbor who came to help searched upstairs. When Michelle could not be found, Braulio took the children with him. The neighbor told detectives he then called police because he was suspicious and concerned about Michelle's welfare due to the couple's on-going domestic issues. Deputies arrived and found the body in the basement.

A good friend and neighbor of Michelle says Braulio Castillo verbally and physically abused his wife for years. They had been separated for more than a year and in November, Michelle Castillo secured a protective order against her husband which forbade him from seeing her or coming to the home.

On March 25, Braulio Castillo filed a motion to dismiss the protective order. A hearing on that motion is scheduled for Friday, April 4. Castillo's preliminary hearing on the first degree murder charge is scheduled for May 15 at 1:30 p.m.


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