I want to thank all of our loyal listeners for their continued support. Without you, we wouldn't have the opportunity to tell these important stories. Your engagement and dedication to justice are what make our podcast possible! ~ J. Castillo, Host of Hands Off My Podcast
Hands Off My Podcast: True Crime, is a professional, ethical true-crime podcast that focuses on bringing awareness to the forefront for marginalized communities such as MMIWG2SR, LGBTQ+, and AANHPI individuals. We share stories of lost loved ones and highlight organizations that are dedicated to making a difference.
If you appreciate our podcast and would like to show your support, we would greatly appreciate a 5-star rating on Spotify, a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, or even finding us on the Audible app. Additionally, you can listen and rate us on the Goodpods listening app too! Thank you for your support.
Jasmine Castillo 0:00
Hands off. My podcast is a proud member of dark cast network presenting the brightest of indie podcasts. Allah my beautiful humans. This is Justin Castile, and I bring stories and cases from the people of color community bringing awareness of murdered and missing Indigenous women girls to spirits, the LGBTQ community, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, black indigenous people of color. These are their stories. So, Welcome to Pants Off my podcast. Welcome to our special episode on our podcast. Today, we have an interview that is sure to bring hope and faith to all our listeners, especially those who may be feeling like giving up or thinking that there is no way to find justice or peace in the face of a loved one's disappearance or untimely death. As a podcaster I feel honored to be the first person that the victim's family has reached out to with this shocking news. It's a testament to the power of podcasts, and the trust that our listeners have in us to tell their stories. The victim in this case is a young man, and his mother has been tirelessly seeking justice for him for a quarter of a century. She has never given up hope. And now finally, there may be a breakthrough in the case. In order to protect their identity, we have changed the names of the individuals involved in this interview. The mother, who will be sharing her story with us today will be referred to as Elizabeth her son will be called Daniel and the two daughters who mentioned in our conversation will be identified as Susan and Amy. Elizabeth story is one of resilience and strength in the face of unimaginable tragedy. She will take us through the journey of her family's experience, shedding light on the challenges they have faced and the steps they have taken to find answers and closure. Throughout this interview, Elizabeth will share the emotions she has experienced, the obstacles she has encountered, and the support she has received along the way. Her story will serve as an inspiration to all who listen, reminding us that even the darkest times there is always hope. We encourage you to listen with an open heart and an open mind. Elizabeth's story is a powerful one. And we hope that it will resonate with each and every one of you. Whether you're personally faced a similar situation, or know someone who has this interview is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of perseverance.
You have a lot to unravel today. And I'm so close to the news since Yeah, you guys called me I was like, I was like wait, what? Like some a pinch be like wait, what?
Unknown Speaker 3:27
Yes, yes, yes.
Jasmine Castillo 3:28
Tell me Tell me. Can you just like, revisit that day and tell me exactly.
Speaker 2 3:31
I will start off on that day. So at 18th It was mid afternoon. I told you know what I go I just feel that. I don't want anybody there. I'm sorry. So I really don't want anybody there go I just wanted just us I go Don't tell anybody that we're gonna go to the cemetery because it was 25 years anniversary. And I just I just I just want to be alone. I just want us I know moms because I was thinking the exact same thing. I said, Okay, I go so what time are we going to meet there? And she said, You know what, you left me there at three o'clock. I got three o'clock. I said, Okay, you know, I was already living in which takes me about I'd say 3540 miles away. And I said well I want to drive in and I'm gonna I need to go run some errands. And she says okay, I'll meet you there at three o'clock. I go but don't tell nobody, you know, because usually the other grandkids other people other friends would go and it's this time it would just felt different. And I said oh she said okay, so she I guess she got there. I want to go do some errands. I wanted to cut my hair did my nails and you know that I was like I was I was wanting to be there, but I wasn't in a hurry. Why? I couldn't tell you. So I was like, making excuses. So you know, okay, it's according to three, what can I do before I get to the cemetery because they were just like, I don't know, something we just saying. You just get those feelings in you and gone to go get some stuff to eat with my other grandchild with and, you know, they're saying Nona, what do you want, and I'm like, I really don't want it. They won't give me this, but I will just taking my time and getting there. And finally, I get there. And I had already gone to the to the store to get some flowers for him, and then brings out the chairs. And then we're sitting there when we get there, like at three o'clock. And about, I would say between 310 315 at the latest. We see this guy coming. And he was walking towards us. And I just looked at each other. She goes like, Who is that? And I'm like, I don't know, you know, to me, it looked like a homeless guy. And as you got closer and closer, he was coming towards us and I just looked at she goes, do you recognize him? I'm like, no, like, we don't use you know. And then he comes and you know, he introduces himself. And then we kind of hesitated. We just look at each other. And we look at him. He goes, I come. Every era, I come on every anniversary of his. I'm like, Why? Because Because he passed away. And then I said, Okay, he goes tonight, I was come at this time. And I just looked at each other because we always come after we always go to the cemetery after three o'clock. And I asked him I go, you're the one that leaves these notes, these letters that I had been finding for all these years, and saying, you know, and I, I because I had saved them. I had saved those papers. And they were written on. So you know, stuff like that. He goes, Yeah, those were all for me. And he and I said, you know, so I kind of looked at, and I wanted I wanted confirmation, I said what was the last one that you left? And he confirmed that in it because that's what I had. And I'm like, okay, and then my son in law had gotten there. And that we had, we had given him a chair to sit on. You were talking we were reminiscing of you know what happened that night before and you know, prior days, months prior to everything. And nobody had ever talked about him. Nobody ever nobody ever said anything about this guy. And then like he wanted to open up, but he was like hesitant. And my son in law kind of got that same message. So he's, you know, he told us he was going to leave and all that and everything and, and he did. And then once my son in law lab, he started opening up a little bit more like he felt more comfortable. We were feeling comfortable, because we had already asked him a few questions prior for confirmation. And he was able to answer and give us that confirmation. So we started getting more into depth about that night. And he was actually with my son one hour to what the most before my son was before he was killed. And he told us everything that had happened prior to that night. And we knew some stuff that he confirmed everything that we knew that nobody else nobody else would have known. And he told us who was there, and what it happened a couple of hours prior to everything, you know, with my son, who we kind of fight with, why they had, why they had fought. And then the the big news came so I just looked at each other. And we both looked at each other, like we both have that look on our face, like we wanted to know who pulled the trigger. And he confirmed and he told us at that moment, I was like oh my god. So all these years so you know, like I said, I am a firm believer of the Lord. And you know, I'm always asking them Lord, you know, am I ever going to be able to get confirmation of my son you know that he did not commit suicide? Are you ever going to let me know? And and at that moment, I I didn't know if I should cry. I could jump up and down. i There were so much emotions going through me because he confirmed that who pulled the trigger that my son did not commit suicide that alone took like all these heavy heavy fillings that I was that I had on my chest like they were just like pulled off And I just I wanted to just follow my knees and say thank you, Lord, you know, you finally gave me the confirmation that I needed that it wasn't my wrongdoing of a mom that, you know, would push my son to commit suicide or, you know, those are the things that a parent thinks about when, you know, where did I go wrong? What did what could I have, would have could have should have done, you know, and, and that alone right there, I mean, just, I would just like, but I was still sitting down because I was just like, frozen. But all these emotions were going through my body. I don't know if that makes any sense. But I, and he confirmed, and all these years, for 25 years, I kept telling the Lord when you know that I'm ready to handle it. Can you please? And right there. And then I said, Well, I guess the Lord's thought after 25 years, I was a, I was in a good time, good place, mindset. Health wise, I don't know, you know, but I guess he finally gave it to me. They gave me the justice that I need it for my son, and not just for my son, because we found out at that same day, that same time, all the other lives that were taken by the same man. So all these years, I was thinking it was this guy that's still alive. And it's an it's weird, I was wrong. It's not the guy that I thought it was. It was actually his. But the thing about it is that this has now also deceased, which gave me even more peace of mind. I'm like, Damn, you know, I'm glad he's gone. Because if not, I would have done everything possibly, to get him, you know, behind bars, if possible. Right, those are my thoughts. But this guy, you know, then we started talking more about what happened that night when he got back to the scene, and it was already blocked off, and all this stuff and everything. And the gun was found, like I said, across the street in a puddle of water that was parked, there was their car was parked there. And when they left, the gun fell out of the car. So and I said and they had they police run the ballistics on it, or fingerprints and all that they would have, you know, they did a shitty job on my son's case to begin with. Because like I said, they closed it within 24 hours saying that my son committed suicide. And he didn't, the guy actually was upset. This guy was actually was upset because of the fight that they had exceeded extended back to maybe three weeks up to a month, or the fact that
Speaker 2 13:11
that something had happened. And oh my god, it was just like, it would just given us so much information is like oh my god I go. i There's no way that you know, he asked us to please keep his his his name confidential. And so we will we'll just just give us more details. And he did. He did. And because he gave us all these details, I told him go we can't I can't go to the police. And let them know that, you know, the guy that actually killed my son is already deceased, because they're gonna say, Well, where do you get this information and blah, blah, blah. And I said, I will not I go, I have my confirmation. The Lord has given it to me. I know that, you know, it wasn't because of my wrongdoing that my son committed suicide is the the the Karelian man that took it. And I can say he took my son and a couple of other people. And I want to go so back to that family. But I can't reveal this man's name. Because there's there's still person that's out there that dominates as dominating of the people that knew of my son's killing. And they pledged to be his best friend they were like brothers and all this stuff narrative which it turned out to be a lie because they are still living in fear of this man, which I again, you know, I feel I feel it but I don't know, you know, how much comfort this family other families would want to even know because I we don't hear anything. We don't know anything. But I've always put it out there that you know, the day that my son yields justice. We get justice for him. I know that we're getting justice for the other people also, whether the families know or not, I, I couldn't tell you do I want to there was some. So the cold case detective that was working on it, her ex brother in law just passed away not too long ago. And I told her go, I want to go to the funeral. Just because I want to, I want to talk to her, I want to, I want to, you know, tell her, I go, but at the same time I go, I know that they're going to put pressure, and they're going to want to know, and I can't I, you know, I have to keep my word. And then if I was to do that, it would bring in the, you know, talking to my daughter, and I don't know where that would put her. And like I said, it's full circle, now my daughter came home,
Jasmine Castillo 15:56
I all I can say is that you are a wonderful, loving mother, anything that you have done, you did everything that a mother supposed to do. You've loved unconditionally. You've loved all your children, and it shows. So I know that we as mothers, we doubt ourselves, like, every step of the way, because no one gives us a manual on how to be a parent, we have to learn by trial and error. And I have three boys, and it's like, each has their own personality, you know, you have to kind of go based on your, your intuition. What's best for this child was supposed for this child be farther away? Should I give him space? You don't know that? And all you can say is that I, I see you. And I know for you and I curse. I'm sorry, I know for darn sure that you were a wonderful mother, you've always been a wonderful mother. And never never doubt that. And I am glad there's a confirmation that life wasn't taken by him. And there's confirmation that he didn't do it himself, but confirmation that there was somebody who, who actually confronted you. And what I want to do is I want to keep the confidentiality as much as I can. What I want to do is I want I want to reach out to someone who, who can give me the specifics on how you can keep this information confidential. And what are the legalities of that? Because I want to keep your family safe. That's the priority number one, like you said, That's priority number one, and finally come around, and she has, you know, cleaned up her her life. And I am so happy that she was able to turn this around. Well it wasn't
Speaker 2 18:03
it, how it all happened was, you know, like I said, I am a firm believer every time I asked the Lord to help us guide us and protect us, and put my kids in the right place at the right time. And since you know my other grandson, he's going on a year, or I think it's already been a year that he's been cleaned. He's been doing good. He's working. He lives with that. Grandson, what are we going to do when this happens? So he does put him at the right place at the right time? How are we going to help them? And and I guess finally we got our answer. And he was put at the right place at the right time. And he's clean now. And he's working. And I tell him while we got one, you know, we got another one to go. So I was I would pray every night and you know, throughout the day, because I would see people in the streets that I didn't know, you know, is that worry she I would I would go months without knowing you know where she's at what she's doing. So finally I just said Lord to go, please help me I go I need to know if you've, you know, you haven't given up on me yet. And I know I'm always putting pressure. You know, I'm always asking, I'm always asking and, and finally the we got the phone call goes mom, she goes, Hey, I think might be in jail. And I'm like, why she goes I got a call from the county jail. And she goes and I know that. And so, so while she was at work, I said, Well, let me check. So I went online and I started looking and I finally I did see where she got arrested. I go, you know, I was so glad I'm like thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lorna go, please don't let her get out of jail. Don't let her do this. And you know, so she had to bail said You know, it was only $1,000 and she was It was right before, a couple of days before her daughter's baby shower. And so she goes she wants to get out she was crying she was in I said go i You don't have the money. And I'm not asking you to bail her out. So you had a talk with her husband, and you know, she tried to go do a bail bond, but they wouldn't do anything. Unless it was 2000 enough or whatever. So she ended up putting $1,000 and got her out on bail, we gave her this. Well, Morley gave her this, you know, the rules, the stipulations and blah, blah, everything that had to go to, she would have to do in order for her. And she agreed, I agreed to take her to her courts and all that. And she's been there, she's been she was started working. And I've taken it to her court, and she got me she got a really good public defender the second time that's going to help her. So like I said, it's for so for that mindset, you know, it's, I told you, though, just every time we asked the Lord, you have to be careful, because what we wish, because we will, he will grant it, but with conditions, you know, and so, with her doing good, and all that and everything, I I'm at a point where I can't, I mean, because if it weren't for, I don't know where it would be at right now, to be honest with you, as the one that's keeping this has kept this kind of an igloo, you know, glued together. She says, Mommy, I'm not as strong as I go, you are and you just don't realize it because I don't love my I love my kids unconditionally, but I can't say I love one more or the other. But it made my case if it hadn't been for my oldest, and for where she's at in her in her life right now. I don't know where I would be where you would be, where her son would be. And I guess, you know, my my son in law is he is more like a son. If it weren't for them, too, we would be in a totally different place. Totally, you know, she doesn't realize that, you know, and I've made my mistakes. Oh, my God, I've made my mistakes, you know, throughout the years with my kids. But that mean, I didn't I you know, I did love one more or the other. They're like you said they're three different personalities, three different, you know, my son had the, like I said, the ATD or the autism? And then you know, I don't know, I haven't sat down with to ask her what she knew. Because I didn't want to put her back in that situation, too. Because I know she's she's, I've talked about it that maybe that's why it turned out certain ways because she was carrying all this guilt. We don't know what guilt are. We don't know any of that. We really haven't asked her at least I haven't. I don't know, as, but I, I can't have. I'm not, I'm not in a place right now at a time to have that conversation with her. But I've always told, we've always agree that she's always known more than she's, you know, cared to share. We're just fine. Because we don't know if she's been threatened because she's, you know, knows this other person, and stuff like that, but I can't jeopardize what we're where we're at right now. And with with the kids, and like I said, I don't know, I just asked the Lord daily, you know, to guide us and protect us and, you know, put us in the right place and just keep opening the doors and shut the ones that we know, need to be shut. And so that's where we're at right now, Jasmine? I don't know.
Jasmine Castillo 23:46
Yeah. Everything that you said the doors are opening and closing based on the time that you have your string, and everything's going to be in its place. We'll definitely come around when she is ready to and it's like, and I have a son that Sullivan he's actually 11 years old and he is on the autism spectrum as well. He's has a sensory processing disorder. So when you talked a lot about a hit personally with me because I was completely baffled in regards to how do you you know, how do I handle this child is how this child is completely different like an exotic bird. How do you handle a child? Oh, many different like, wiring and nuances and different in his world. His perspective on the world is completely different than the other kids and to me, it opened up my mind in looking at in a different view and everything that you've done as a mother. You know, like I said, everything's a trial and error and everything you've done was based on love. So even if you made these mistakes it was made because you You were in the process of growing as well, you were learning you were developing, you were becoming more aware of what your kids needed at that moment. And it's, it's never gonna be perfect. It's what they needed. It's what they need it and they have a mother that's always been there for them, who's never gave up on them. That's the best thing ever, no matter how many mistakes that have gone, or how many things you've done perfectly, I think kids remember is that their parents were always there, no matter what unconditionally, this what they remember the most, and you did the best you could 200% then and I, and I see you.
Speaker 2 25:46
I was was I remember, they say, Oh, he's your favorite. But he wasn't my favorite. But at that time, when, you know, growing up, and he was always, you know, getting picked up for curfew, and I was always working late I had to go, you know, was straight from work, I had to go pick him up where, wherever they had him at that time, they would they would be like, after school program. They just had been different places. So he, he would call and say, okay, when you get up work, I'm over here now. And I'm over here now. And, you know, I had to spend more time trying to understand what he was going through. Because it was hard for me to because I'm gonna say what's wrong with my son? Why can't they help them? Why can you know? Why does it have to be with medication because he didn't like taking the medication, because he said that would make him feel weird. And also, to be if he was, he couldn't stay home because the girls had, you know, they were doing their own thing. I had to work. And I would I would try to work days I can be there at night. But sometimes I had to work split shifts. So it was it was hard. It was hard. But I tried to do everything they asked me to do with him. And so I entrusted him with these people that knew exactly what happened on the night of 18th. I entrusted him with them thinking out there. And, and then it didn't make it made more sense. I got confirmation on this. Like I said, this went on his 25th anniversary. And I'm like, Oh my God. And I just and that's when I just said, Lord, I go, I know that you are preparing. You were preparing me for this day for this justice. But it took 25 years. And I think that's how long it took me to be prepared. Because even you know, after this guy had to leave, I just looked at each other and we just hugged and I just started crying. I'm like, Oh, my God, all the wrong things I you know, I did thinking that I was doing good for your brother and knowing that, you know, not knowing that the person that I entrusted him with was actually another eight. And that's another thing that I can't reveal that because he knows the extended reason he knows my kids and my grandkids and
Jasmine Castillo 28:37
what I can do, because I know that I work with a lot of different types of people who do investigations and pro bono stuff like that. Would you feel comfortable for me to reach out? And I won't say any names, I won't identify who I'm talking about specifically, like your name or anything I will say what, what what a mother who has received some information about a possible perpetrator that is connected to her son's murder will be the ways that she can go about in providing information without being harmed or putting her family in danger. And I can ask that question for you and to see what you are able to do. Or if you it is of your preference. If you prefer to dislike let it be and just have me change the names in our conversation to kind of keep things confidential and just be it at that. It's of your preference. What would you like to do? You can sleep on it to just let me know what your thoughts are.
Speaker 2 29:40
Yeah. But the main thing I want people to understand Jasmine and to realize that they will always be justice. There's no perfect murderers out there at all. And like I said, it took me 25 years on On the day of my son's murder, because I used to always say, Well, do you know is the day that my, my son died? No, I connect the, our firm now that you know, my son was murdered, and it's not going to change anything on his death certificate. So I'm going to bring him back. That is given us peace. I don't I that and I just want people don't ever, ever give up. The Lord will give you what you need, at the time that he feels that you are ready to accept it. Like I said, it took 25 years of the Lord preparing me for this. Because I don't know, maybe other at other times how I was state my I don't know. I mean, only the Lord knows, you know why it took me like I said, I can talk about my son, I can start crying. But then other people, I can talk to other people and not shed a tear because I've learned to fight that. And, and just keep a straight face. But I'm, you know, I'm crying in the inside and I'm dying. In the inside I've, I've gotten to a point to where I was told, go the day that I find out I can get justice for my son. I go if the Lord wants to take me there, and then I would go with a smile on my face and be so grateful. And saying and was saying that on that day, a few days later, I get diagnosed with something and just start you know, saying mom, she goes, I'm so scared. She goes, I'm going to I'm going to lose you. And I'm like, Well, we're off at some point you will she goes, No. And she goes, because how I told her that once I find out I would be I will be ready to go. And she is she thinks that, you know, I had to I had to reset my retire. I'm kind of retired right now I haven't worked since the 24th. And she just, you know, when I go only the Lord knows when I'm going to go and you know why things are happening? way they're happening what you know, I'm at a good I'm in a good place right now. I said health wise, you know, I'm struggling. But I'm at peace. And that's it's so it's it's a piece that I have not felt in many, many years, like probably the whole 25 years at my son's been gone. And like I said the kids are good, good, good. Every. I mean, it's just like, it's scary, that I'm not stressed about the family. And I know, there's other little things that can stress me out. But I can say only the Lord knows what's what's in store. And I just don't want people to ever give up on trying to get justice. You know, don't really don't stop believing in the Lord as to when you're going to ask for something be, you know, re prepared for the for the outcome that he's going to give you. That's all I can say, you know, it's like, don't give up. Don't give up. And like I said it took 25 years for my justice. But I got it. We got it. And it feels amazing. Yeah, it feels amazing.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai