SAN CARLOS, Calif. — The father of a young girl who was killed by her sword-wielding ex-boyfriend expressed his sorrow to ABC7’s sister station KGO-TV. He said that he wishes he had done more to keep his daughter away from the man who took her life in a brutal sword attack.
“Every time I saw her, I would beg her. Don’t talk to him. Leave him and it seemed like the more I did that, the more she would see him.”
From speaking with those close to the victim, Eyewitness News has gathered more information about her and the man now in jail for her murder in San Carlos.
This family wants the general public to know Karina Castro, as well as her experiences, in order to assist bring her children home. They were taken into custody by social workers after the attack.
Castro’s grandmother, Danielle Gannon, met with KGO-TV at her home in Vallejo on Friday.
She invited the police inside to meet her son, Marty Castro, who was the beheaded’s father.
Castro: “She was an amazing girl.”
Gannon: “She was an amazing woman, very stubborn, determined to raise her daughters on her own.”
Karina Castro was 27 years old and working as a Door Dash driver when she suddenly passed away. She left behind two young girls, aged 7 and 1.
The man now suspected of murdering her, 33-year old Jose Raphael Solano Landaeta, was also the father of her youngest child.
The family says he went by the name Rafa Solano and didn’t work, but KGO-TV found some rap songs he’d posted on YouTube.
Gannon: “He is a diagnosed schizophrenic on meds. And he would use that as an excuse for his behavior. He drank excessively and you’re not supposed to do that on those kind of medications.”
According to the family and law enforcement sources, Solano had been violent with Castro in the past and she obtained a restraining order against him in April. However, they continued to interact with each other.
Castro: “If there’s somebody out there abusing your daughter, don’t take off. Don’t let it go. Don’t take no for an answer. You feel responsible, no matter what anyone says.”
Gannon: “I do too, baby.”
On the day before the murder, Snapchat messages between the couple became very heated. We obtained more than a dozen of these messages, but most contained language that was too explicit to show.
She threatens to tell the world about Solano’s criminal record that includes a rape conviction involving a minor. He calls her “snitch lip” and warns her “F*** around and find out.”
Castro fires back, “U wanna put a target on my back, ur homies gunna kno the real u” and threatens to expose his sexual relationship with another man.
She adds, “Dude, go head try and take my a** out.”
Just a few hours after they talked, they had an argument in the street outside her apartment — with her daughters safely inside.
Marty Castro: “He got really mad, went to the trunk of his car, pulled out whatever it was and killed her right there behind her car.”
The neighbors who saw it happen were stunned. Chapel Thorborne saw the aftermath and it was gruesome.
Thorborne said, “The head was underneath the car and she was laying in back of the car, just severed, and then they covered her up.”
The alleged motive is publicly unknown. Thorborne said the couple moved in about three years ago, according to NBC Bay Area.
“They seemed like they loved each other,” he said.
But the suspect reportedly had a violent criminal history and a history of mental health challenges. The woman got a temporary restraining order against the man in April, according to KGO. Authorities described the suspect as being a resident of the city of Hayward, across the San Francisco Bay from San Carlos.
Her family told the news outlet that they learned about her death from media reports on Thursday evening. Her father, who traveled to the scene immediately, noted the fire department dousing crimson stains on the street with hoses.
Castro: “When the deputy walked up, he would not confirm who it was. But I said that she owned that black Volkswagen. He said yeah, “That’s my daughter.”
The caseworkers had already taken the youngsters. Gannon and Marty Castro want them as quickly as possible, but CPS advised them to go through the application procedure.
Gannon says, “I want those girls. That’s what I want first, then I want Rafa to fry in jail. I don’t care what happens to him.”
Upon KGO-TV’s departure, Marty Castro expressed his grief through tears. He contacted the coroner to retrieve his daughter’s belongings, CPS to regain custody of his grandchildren and animal control for her dog and two cats.
Solano’s arraignment, which was due to take place on Friday afternoon, has been postponed until Monday.