Texas Woman, 21, Was Found Dead 17 Years Ago — Her Alleged Killer Was Just Now Arrested 1
Texas Woman, 21, Was Found Dead 17 Years Ago — Her Alleged Killer Was Just Now Arrested

On July 15, 2003, the partially clothed body of 21-year-old Cynthia Joann Palacio was found on the side of a desolate county road in Lubbock County, Texas.

Andy Castillo, 57, is facing charges in the 17-year-old cold case murder of a young mother in Lubbock, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced in a news release on Friday.

She was found on a rural road in Southeast Lubbock County, partially nude and strangled, the release stated. Her last known whereabouts were unknown. Palacio is survived by her daughter, who was 2-years-old at the time of her death.

Authorities served Andy Castillo, 57, with an arrest warrant after the federal DNA database linked him to the slaying, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Friday.

At the time, Castillo was in McLennan County Jail in Waco on unrelated charges of solicitation to commit child sexual assault.

In January, Castillo was arrested by Lubbock PD in connection with the harassment of some Waco-area real estate agents who said they were receiving lewd messages from someone threatening to rape their children.

The McLennan County Sheriff’s Office human trafficking team used technology and intel to track down Castillo in Lubbock.

During the investigation, deputies found possibly 100 realtors in around 20 cities and 10 states had been harassed by Castillo.

The investigation was conducted by the Texas Rangers and the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office.

Lubbock Police took a DNA sample from Castillo before he was taken to Waco. Once in Waco, he was charged with one count of stalking and two counts of criminal solicitation-aggravated sexual assault of a child.

McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara says, “A lot of women have been victimized by this creep.”

Authorities say one of those women was Cynthia Palacio.

“There’s no question in our mind that he committed this murder,” said McNamara.

“One of our duties in law enforcement is to pursue every lead and seek justice for victims and their families, even when the case runs cold,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “I’m proud of the diligent efforts … to solve this nearly two-decade-old case and find justice for a young woman who was brutally murdered.”