Simi Valley

Missing Simi Valley Mother Found Dead, Ex-Husband Arrested On Suspicion Of Murder

Police and family had been searching for 25-year-old Rachel Castillo, who was reported missing last Thursday after blood was found in her apartment.

Rachel Castillo in family photos
Family photos

A 25-year-old mother who vanished from her apartment in Simi Valley under mysterious circumstances was found dead Sunday and police said her ex-husband has been arrested in connection with her murder.

Rachel Castillo had two young children and was last heard-from Thursday afternoon.

Her sister called police when she discovered a large amount of blood in the apartment they share. 

Police combed through the apartment and determined that a crime had taken place and began searching for Castillo and tracking where she was the day she disappeared.

A Simi Valley mother of two was found dead and her ex-husband was arrested on suspicion of murder. Darsha Philips reports for the NBC4 News on Nov. 13, 2022.

She was reported missing Thursday night after her sister returned to the apartment they shared in the Wood Ranch neighborhood and found a large amount of blood - that investigators said was consistent with a, "serious injury."

Late Sunday Simi Valley Police said Castillo's remains had been found in a remote area of the Antelope Valley and were positively identified with the assistance of the Los Angeles County Coroner.

"The primary suspect in this case is Rachel's ex-husband, 25-year-old Hawthorne resident Zarbab Ali," Police said in a statement.

It was believed that Ali had picked up the couple’s two sons from Castillo 's apartment the day the young mother went missing.

"Mr. Ali was arrested this afternoon at his parents' home in Victorville in connection to Rachel's homicide," the statement said.

Castillo's father Christopher, a retired federal law enforcement agent, drove in from Northern California Friday to assist with the search for his daughter.

"She is in need of immediate help," he told NBC4 Friday night, begging for anyone with information on her disappearance to call police.

"Just think if this was your kid," he said.

Neighbors say they didn’t hear or see anything out of the ordinary on that day.

“Stuff like this doesn’t happen here…heartbreaking,” Frank Avila, a neighbor, said. 

Ali lives in Hawthorne but police arrested him at his parents home in Victorville.

Castillo and her sisters were very much involved in their church. Members of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church organized a prayer vigil for Castillo before they heard the news of her death.

Friends who prayed and hoped for a different outcome are now trying to cope with a devastating loss.

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