San Carlos, CA – A 27-year-old mother of two young girls was beheaded outside her home last week by the father of her youngest daughter, according to her family.
The horrific attack occurred on the street outside 27-year-old Karina Castro’s home near Magnolia Avenue and Laurel Street at approximately 11:50 a.m. on Sept. 8, FOX News reported.
Resident Chapel Thorborne said he witnessed the aftermath of Castro’s murder.
“The head was underneath the car and she was laying in the back of the car, just severed and then they covered her up,” Thorborne told KGO.
San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office (SMCSO) Lieutenant Eamonn Allen said deputies arrived at the scene within minutes and immediately located “an obviously deceased female in the street,” FOX News reported.
Investigators later said Castro was decapitated using a sword that had not been recovered, according to KNTV.
The gruesome scene shocked the deputies who first pulled up.
“I do know that the deputies that first arrived on scene were a little beset by the scene,” Lt. Allen told KNTV. “We are providing them peer support. We are also providing support for the witnesses that were on scene as well because there were several civilian witnesses.”
Castro’s daughters, ages seven and one, were inside the house at the time of her murder and did not witness the killing, FOX News reported.
They have since been taken into the custody of Child Protective Services.
Investigators were beginning to process the scene when 33-year-old Jose Raphael Landaeta Solano, the father of Castro’s one-year-old child, showed up at the house.
“They began to work the scene and shortly thereafter, the male suspect arrived back at the scene and was quickly detained by sheriff’s deputies,” Lt. Allen said, according to FOX News. “He was later placed under arrest for homicide.”
Castro’s family said Solano had been violent with her in the past and that she had gotten a restraining order against him several months ago, FOX News reported.
But she continued to see him despite the order, they said.
“Every time I saw her, I would beg her, ‘Don’t talk to him. Leave him,’” her father, Martin Castro, told KGO. “It seemed like the more I did that, the more she would see him.”
Castro and Solano exchanged a series of heated text messages shortly before her murder, according to KGO.
Castro threatened to tell everyone about Solano’s “rape conviction involving a minor” in one of the messages, according to the news outlet.
Solano responded by calling her a “snitch lip” and warning her not to cross him.
“You want to put a target on my back ur homies gunna know the real u,” Castro said.
She also allegedly threatened to tell people about Solano’s “sexual relationship with another man,” KGO reported.
Family members said Solano was previously diagnosed with schizophrenia, KGO reported.
During Solano’s first court appearance on Monday, his attorney expressed concerns that his client may not be competent to stand trial, according to KGO.
San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said that that the court is acting appropriately by ordering a mental competency exam in this case.
“We don’t believe this is going to allow him to go free,” Wagstaffe told KGO. “It isn’t like suddenly if you’re not competent to stand trial, that you get to go free.”
Although Castro never contacted police to report Solano’s violations of the restraining order she obtained against him in April, the prosecutor said she is not responsible for her murder.
“I completely in no way am critical of the victim in this,” he told KGO. “It’s something that we see constantly in the domestic violence arena. There’s something called the cycle of domestic violence and this is one of them.”
Solano faces 26 years to life if he is convicted.