Midessa Missing and Murdered:An Easter with No Hope p.2
When a child goes missing and is then found dead dumped out in a field, you would think it would be safe to assume that someone took her. Just that information alone would lead you to believe that this was a kidnapping. We’re talking about the early 90’s at a trailer park in the bad part of an already not so safe town. Odessa, TX was an oil town. Oil towns come with booms and busts and with that always comes drugs and crime. This is the town that in 1983 was branded the “homicide capital of America” by The National Coalition to Ban Handguns. Add in the reports of a man seen offering candy to a child that looked like the one that went missing that same day and it’s no longer a mystery as to what happened. But then not long after her body was found a statement to the community was released saying that there was no need to worry about a stranger prowling neighborhoods looking for kids to snatch “because of newly discovered information…”.
Gloria Castillo’s 8th birthday was on April 10th, she went missing on April 14th, her body was found April 21st during a candlelight vigil at her home, and she was laid to rest on the afternoon of April 25th, it was a Wednesday.
The very next day, Thursday April 26th, inside the Ector County District Attorney’s Office, a grieving mother was questioned for 14 hours before she is allowed to leave with her attorney. She was wearing the same black dress she wore to bury her daughter the day before. She was there from 9 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. In 1990 when someone is questioned by law enforcement for 14 hours it’s safe to assume it wasn’t a friendly 14 hours. From what we’ve learned from true crime programs on television we know that the majority of what goes on during a questioning is the same questions being asked over and over and over in the hopes that the answer will change to fit a narrative that law enforcement approves. I can’t imagine what it’s like to not only lose a child but to lose that child in such a horrible way and then to be questioned for 14 hours the day after lowering her tiny white coffin into the ground.
Her daughter, Idann Dutchover, walks her out of the Ector County Courthouse sobbing just before midnight. Bob Garcia, her attorney, told the newspaper that he was banging on the door to allow him access to his client throughout the time she spent with investigators but was denied. After the all day and into the night questioning on Thursday, a 31-year-old man is arrested Saturday at a carnival in Crane.
If you’re not familiar with the area Crane is about half an hour away from Odessa. He’s charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child. I bet I know what you’re thinking right now, at least if you’re the sort of self-proclaimed law savvy arm chair detective slash crime scene investigator that I think myself to be I do. You’re thinking they need to arrest this guy to get him off the streets so they’ve charged him with the aggravated sexual assault to buy some time to build enough evidence to charge him with murder. Gloria’s body was found, like I’ve said in part one of this story, under a blanket out in a lonely, dusty, empty field. What I didn’t say was what else they found under that blanket. You remember in part one that from the time that Gloria went missing to when her body was found the temperatures in the area reached 90 degrees twice, and that due to the severe state of decomposition she was in her identification was made by her mother after she was shown the clothing that was found on the body? That’s right, she was found fully clothed, which isn’t normally how a child victim of sexual assault and murder is found. That’s because she wasn’t sexually assaulted, according to the autopsy. The sexual assault charges that Donald Bleckler was arrested for were for two separate incidents alleged to have taken place March 2nd and April 13th (the day before Gloria went missing) of a male child. Something else was found with Gloria under that blanket. A braided nylon rope was found wrapped twice around the 1st graders neck with a double knot in the back. Now that I’ve dropped those “WTH?” bombs on you it’s time you should know that I haven’t even gotten to the part that makes everything so much harder to understand. Gloria’s cause of death was listed as strangulation, which means she died as a result of some type of ligature around her neck that cut off the flow of blood to her body. If I told you there was a rope wrapped twice around the branch of a tree with a double knot in it, how would you assume it got there? I asked someone this same question early and they said “well, someone put it there”… That’s a pretty safe assumption. If I told you a girl went missing and then was found dead in a field under a blanket with a rope wrapped twice around her neck with a double knot in the back and asked you how you thought the rope got there, would you also answer that someone put it there? I would. In the autopsy it states that the rope was wound twice and then tied with a double knot at the back of the neck, extending from the knot was one length that was more than 59 inches and the other that was more than 14 inches. Lawmen begin reporting that from the autopsy and information resulting from the investigation they believe Gloria’s death was the result of an accidental hanging from a rope attached to a pole near the Castillo’s mobile home. Not long after Donald Wayne Bleckler is arrested and charged in connection with Gloria’s death, Ninefa Dutchover Castillo, Gloria’s mother and Jose Castillo, Gloria’s father who was not living in the home at the time (Ninefa and Jose were divorced) were also charged in connection with their daughter’s death. All three were charged with the misdemeanors of moving a body.
Watch for part three, the last of the story about Gloria Castillo next week.