Dr. Amy Castillo, Mother of Murdered Children Speaks


Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] A Human Rights Issue-Custodial Justice.



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Mother of Murdered Children Speaks

Dr. Amy Castillo shares her grief

Updated: Tuesday, 20 Oct 2009, 6:33 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 20 Oct 2009, 5:46 PM EDT


Amy Castillo still remembers seeing her children run out the door to their father, Mark. Six year old Anthony wanted to finish watching a program on television. Austin who was four and Athena her two year old were already outside. She wishes she had grabbed them to stay home. That March day in 2008, he drowned the children in a Baltimore Hotel room.

Today she still has flashbacks. It's as if she's being told again that her children are dead. Mark Castillo pleaded guilty last week and received three life sentences without parole. "He said he's sorry over and over and over. He's written a letter to me," she said.

Some people never get an apology. At least, Castillo said she got that. Her resilience is remarkable as is her faith in God. She says it's gotten her through the past 18 months and allowed her to forgive her husband, although she still cannot understand how he could kill his own children.

She preferred not to know the details of the crime, but learned them anyway.. Police reports, court documents and her husband's confession were accidentally mailed to her.
"The descriptions of them, how they suffered, the look on Anthony's face. One paper said about how he looked at his father and knew something was wrong and how they struggled," Castillo recalls reading.

Today would have been Austin's sixth birthday. Castillo plans to look at pictures of him as she does on every birthday and mourn the loss of her child. The holidays and birthdays are the worst.

The children's' rooms are still decorated, although she has begun to give some clothes away. She has packed away some favorite clothes and toys to remember them but it's still too painful to look at them. In her grief, she tries to remember the good times.

Anthony she recalled, "He was a very loving person. He really loved his mother," and Austin, "Austin was a wild thing like his father." With Athena, she says "I loved dressing her up like a little doll."

Castillo and her husband were separated at the time. Castillo had been granted emergency custody because of her husband's history of mental illness. The Silver Spring mom fought in court to keep her husband away from the children, believing he could be a danger, but he was allowed visits. "This time, I didn't sense anything was wrong," Castillo said. So she let the children go.

Hours later when Mark Castillo never showed up, she called police over and over but no one knew where to find them.

Later police would take her to Baltimore and tell her three children were dead and they believe her husband did it. She says it was one of the worst moments of her life. The worst moment she says was months later, when the reality sank in. "The shock wears off and it really starts hitting you that you're never going to see your children again."

Castillo's divorce went through in December. Before the crime though, she says she still hoped her husband would get help and they could save their marriage. "When I got married, I thought 'I'm so happy. I don't have to date anymore. I've found the man I'm going to be with the rest of my life," she said.

When she lost her children, Castillo contemplated suicide. "I thought about it. I thought I just don't know how I can make it without my children," she said. Then while on a mountaintop in China, in the middle of a monsoon, she had an epiphany. She said she did not want to go to heaven that way and found peace knowing she would see her children there one day.

Her faith in God gave Castillo strength to go on and she knew her children also shared her faith. "The boys had a conversation about a week before they died. One said when I die I'm going to heaven to be with Jesus."

About a year ago, Castillo spoke with her husband by phone and exchanged letters. She asked him why he did it, but Mark Castillo would not answer until after the trial. She says he wrote a letter explaining everything and told her where to find it if anything happened. Now she's waiting for that explanation but says "I don't know that the answer is there."

Castillo hopes to get married again. She can't have more children but would like to adopt. "I just can't picture myself growing old without a family," she says.

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