Battle Creek Enquirer from Battle Creek, Michigan on October 15, 1996 · Page 8
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Battle Creek Enquirer from Battle Creek, Michigan · Page 8

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Battle Creek, Michigan
Issue Date:
Tuesday, October 15, 1996
Page:
Page 8
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NATION '8A Tuesday, Oct. 15, 1996 Battle Creek Enquirer Children live 2 weeks with slain mom's body IMIATTRESS John Howard ' Associated Press SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Neighbors noticed nothing unusual about the 8-year-old boy and his 14-year-old sister for those two weeks. And even after the children opened all the doors and windows, no one noticed the smell. ', Sgt Bob Mitchell noticed it rig' t jiway as he drove up ro the house Jwhere police say the children lived Iwhile their slain mother's body jdecomposed in a closed bedroom. 1 could smell it without our car win dows being down," Mitchell said Monday. ' The children's father stabbed and beat 38-year-old Janice Castorena, threatened to kill them if they told, and fled, police said. For two weeks, the children visited friends, made meals and kept to themselves while living in the home. Police found the woman's body after the boy purposely got caught shoplifting at a supermarket late Sunday to attract attention, Mitchell said. The boy told officers that he thought his mother was dead. Investigators searched today for the father, Robert Castorena, 38, a high school social studies teacher who quit his job last month and vanished about two weeks ago. A motive in the slaying was not immediately clear. Investigators said they believe Mrs. Castorena was knifed and bludgeoned to death on Oct. 1 and that her husband left within two days. Before he left, Castorena held a knife to his daughter's throat and warned her not to go to police, Mitchell said. "She pleaded for her life, saying she wanted to have children some day," he said. Castorena also threatened the boy while holding the knife, Mitchell added. Officers found the boy's sister in the home; Mrs. Castorena's body was on a bedroom' floor. Police don't believe the children had seen their mother. The boy and girl, whose names were not released, were in protective custody and in good physical condition. Cold Weather is On its Way! 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