A California mother of two has been found dead and her ex-husband was arrested as the main suspect – three days after she vanished and a “significant amount of blood” was found inside her home, police said.
Rachel Castillo, 25, was last seen early Thursday by her sister, Emily Castillo, whom she lived with along with her two young sons, ages 2 and 5.
Police launched a desperate search for the missing woman after saying they found “a significant amount of blood” at the Simi Valley home.
“Detectives located human remains of an adult female in a remote location within the Antelope Valley,” police said in a statement late Sunday.
The remains have been identified as those of Castillo, police said.
“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,” the statement said.
“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,” police added.
Ali is the father of Castillo’s two sons and would pick the children up from his ex every Thursday morning, her family told KCBS-TV.
The boys were picked up by Ali that morning, the Los Angeles Times reported. It is unclear where the children are now.
On Saturday, Emily Castillo told KABC-TV that when she arrived back home Thursday, her sibling was gone but there was a lot of blood.
“As soon as I saw the blood, that’s when I realized something wasn’t right,” Emily told the news station. “So I called my mom to let her know to come over and then I immediately called 911.
“I was running around the house trying to see if I could find her somewhere,” she added.
Rachel’s mother, Robyn Castillo, said her daughter was supposed to spend the day working from home at her job for a social services agency, the paper reported.
Her personal belongings, including her cell phone, car keys and vehicle, were still at the residence when she disappeared, police said.
Rachel’s father, Christopher, a retired federal law enforcement agent, drove in from Northern California on Friday to help in the search, NBC Los Angeles reported.
“She is in need of immediate help,” he told the news outler Friday night, begging for anyone with information on her whereabouts to call authorities.
“Just think if this was your kid,” he said.
On Sunday night, members of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church gathered for a prayer vigil before they heard about the tragic outcome.
“We miss you, we love you, just know that we want to come home and you are so, so loved and if you can hear this message know that we’re surrounding you with love,” Sergio Lopez said, KCBS reported.