DNA links suspect to 2003 Texas Cold Case

Crime

AUSTIN, Texas (KTSM) — More than 17 years after the brutal strangulation of a 21-year-old Lubbock woman, authorities say they’ve identified the man responsible for her death.

Andy Castillo, 57, of Lubbock is charged with the July 15, 2003 slaying of Cynthia Joann Palacio. The investigation has been one of the top unsolved crimes in the Texas Rangers’ database throughout the years.

A recent alert in CODIS — the Combined DNA Index System — led the Texas Rangers and the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office to focus on Castillo, who was incarcerated in the McLennan County Jail in Waco. According to investigators, Castillo was jailed on an unrelated criminal solicitation to commit child sexual assault charge when he was charged with Palacio’s murder.

“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 by the Texas Rangers and the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office to solve this nearly two-decade-old case and find justice for a young woman who was brutally murdered.”

Palacio was found on a rural road in southeast Lubbock County on July 15, 2003. She was partially nude and strangled. Her last whereabouts before her death were unknown, leaving detectives searching for anyone who’d seen her last. She is survived by a daughter who was two-years-old at the time of her death.

Cynthia Palacios (L) and Linda Carbajal (R)

Palacio’s murder is linked to the April 2004 killing of 21-year-old Linda Carbajal, which remains under investigation. Carbajal was found strangled on a rural road in northern Lubbock County, she died from blunt force injuries.

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