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Remains of McAllen woman found in Colorado identified 35 years after disappearance

1 year 5 months 2 weeks ago Wednesday, November 02 2022 Nov 2, 2022 November 02, 2022 11:31 PM November 02, 2022 in News - Local

Nora Elia Castillo's daughters were just little girls when they last saw her 35 years ago. 

Now as adults — and thanks to advances in DNA technology — their mother’s remains were recently identified in Colorado.

Castillo’s body was discovered in a farm in Baca County. The former McAllen resident was positively identified last month.

"All this came out of absolutely nowhere, and it's a lot,” Crystal Castillo said. “It's a lot."

Before that disappearance, Crystal and her sister recalled their mother had gotten in trouble. They were separated from her by the state, and they said Castillo attempted to get them while they lived in New Mexico with their dad.

“And she went to jail from there, in Hobbs, New Mexico,” Crystal said. “From there it's said that she went to a mental institution, but that's the last time anyone ever [saw] her."

The sisters were hopeful for answers when a phone call came years later.

“The end of 2003, beginning of 2004, they said that they had found a body in McAllen that was a possible match to our mother,” Crystal said. “They got DNA from me."

The body ended up not being a match, but the DNA submitted remained on file.

A match was finally made this year.

Channel 5 News reached out to the Baca County Sheriff’s Office to find out why the match took so long to be made when Castillo's body and her daughter’s DNA samples were both filed. They did not respond Wednesday evening

The sisters are living in different places outside of Texas, and are now reconnecting in a place they never knew before.

“I always knew in my heart that she's been gone,” Crystal said of her mother. “We were fortunately able to go visit the grave site that our mother was at as well as the field that her remains were found… The community buried our mother as a Jane Doe because they felt she deserved a headstone and some kind of recognition, being in an evidence room, bones in a box for 17 years."

The Baca County sheriff says the investigation continues to determine how Castillo died and what she was doing in that area of Colorado.

“No matter what, that's my mother and whoever did whatever they did, or whatever happened to her, she deserves justice," Crystal said. 

The McAllen Police Department declined to comment on the investigation, adding that the Baca County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation.

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