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Updated: Ashburn man arrested for the murder of his wife

Braulio M. Castillo

An Ashburn man has been arrested and charged for murder in the death of his estranged wife.

The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office arrested Braulio M. Castillo, 43, and charged him with first-degree murder in connection with his wife's death. Preliminary reports indicate Michelle Castillo, 43, was involved in a physical altercation before being hung from a basement shower to give the appearance of suicide.

At this time, police aren't releasing an official cause or time of death, though medical reports have already ruled that she was dead prior to the hanging.

“We got enough from the medical examiner's office to levy charges, but we can't say an official time of death until the final medical report,” Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman explained.

Police found her body March 20 after her children woke up and couldn't find their mother. The kids called their father, who was under a protective order.

Michelle Castillo had filed for divorce a year prior.

Because he was under a protective order, Braulio Castillo went to a neighbor's home, and the two of them surveyed the home, with Braulio Castillo checking the downstairs and the neighbor checking upstairs. Castillo then took the children.

“After he left, the neighbor was still uncomfortable with the situation and called us to conduct a welfare check,” Chapman explained.

Police responded to the home at around 9 a.m., where they found Michelle Castillo's body.

A neighbor's surveillance camera placed Braulio Castillo at the scene of the crime the afternoon of March 19, just hours after the couple had been scheduled for a divorce hearing earlier that afternoon in the Loudoun County Circuit Court.

Braulio Castillo worked as a CEO for Strong Castle, a small IT company that came under scrutiny last year after accusations that Braulio used his friendship with an IRS official to get millions in federal contracts. He gained further notoriety in 2013, when he was chastised in Congress for using a foot injury from a military prep school to get Strong Castle designated a "service-disabled veteran-owned small business," helping grant his company preferential treatment for contracts.

Friends describe Michelle Castillo fondly.

“She was the most Christian woman I have ever met,” said Patti Hidalgo, who had known Michelle for eight years. “She is someone you wanted to be friends with. She was always smiling … You were just drawn to her for how open and loving she was.”

After suffering a brain aneurysm several years ago, Michelle Castillo had begun becoming more physically active and had completed her first half marathon days before her death. She was training for a triathlon.

Hidalgo said Michelle Castillo most adored her five children, ranging in age from five to 20, and loved being a mother. The four younger siblings are currently staying with a family friend.

“She was just a good neighbor, a good mother, a good friend and a good member of the community,” Hidalgo said.

Hidalgo had exchanged Facebook messages with Michelle Castillo about three weeks before her death but said Castillo didn't seem worried about her safety. For her part, Hidalgo is equally shocked at the incident.

“I didn't know him well,” Hidalgo said. “But he was friendly, and we would talk when I saw him.”

Braulio Castillo is currently being held at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center on no bond. A preliminary hearing in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations court is scheduled for May 15.


The most dangerous times in a woman’s life is AFTER she gets a protective order against a husband or boyfriend!  Once the protective order is done, a 24/7 bodyguard is needed because most husbands-boyfriends became enraged about protective orders and most times will gladly trade their freedom (prison) for a chance to harm the wife-girlfriend one last time!  Wake up ladies and remember this!

I still don’t understand the cold, heartless, cruel and unfeeling nature of people who insist on exploiting every tragedy to pursue their own agenda. This article has absolutley nothing to do with firearms or the second amendment. A mother of five has been brtually murdered by an obviously depraved and callous killer. Their father is the suspect in this heinous act and is in jail. This is a family and community tragedy. Yet a shameless huckster continues to trample all over the grief of this family and this community and the memory of a beloved human being to blather about their phobia. Is there no decency left in some human beings?

First to Eds point about guns in the home. The reports showing they are more likely to be used against its owner are based on gang bangers and suicides not domestic violence. They have also been torn apart. The Philly study is just based on street murders and if the guy was armed, those murders are criminal thugs not home owners. Then the Seattle study was shown as false, using Seattle’s crime stats and the studies methodology it was show gun owner and non gun owners ran the exact same risk of being shot. The writer had an agenda and conveniently left data out.

Second - We can deal with spree killings without changing a single law on gun buying today. We simply need to lift HIPPA protections and allow doctors to put people with violent delusional disorders like shizophrinia on the NICS to keep them from gun ownership. Not one case of a spree shooting is a normal healthy person who snaps they all have a long list of medications with violent side effects and most have known and diagnosed mental disorders.

Eddie, I’d rather have them then you.  With them, I’d feel much safer.  You’d offer no protection whatsoever.

BTW - those crazed non-gun owners will be they ones that wipe out an entire family while driving home drunk - but heck, they didn’t use a gun.

...but the crazy non-gun owners haven’t been involved in the mass killings and it is really hard to predict who is going to snap and go from a law-abiding gun owner to a murderer or a suicide victim (or both.) 

Reminding people that guns do not make one’s home safer is not an infringement of their 2A rights to ignore that advice and buy a gun. The hostility here is telling.  Would you want these shrill and aggressive gun supporters to be packing if you were in a traffic altercation?

We have a lot of crazy non-gun owners as well.

@Ed, we have a lot of looney drivers in the world too. People that will drive drunk or speed or text… I’m not a gun owner. Feel that the mental doctor profession needs to step up on this topic. If you’re seeing any kind of doctor for depression or other symptoms perhaps you shouldn’t own a gun

Mr. Myers:  I’ve read the “surrounding stories”.  Your comments only serve to highlight your deep-seated hostility toward the U.S. Constitution and authority in general, and the Second Amendment and its supporters in particular.

Are you professionally qualified to label others as “crazy”?  Perhaps you’re projecting.  You don’t believe citizens— including women, by the way—should able to protect themselves from those who threaten their physical safety.  What sort of man prefers women to be defenseless?

Most gun owners are responsible, law abiding citizens, while you have an arrest record, sir. You also opposed the building of the LCSO substation on E. Frederick.  Why?  You can’t have it both ways.  The substation enhances the responsiveness by the LCSO to crime in Sterling neighborhoods.  Yet you continually make a mockery of law enforcement.  You obviously have a disdain for any authority.  And that is a much, much more serious problem than “crazy” gun owners.

Actually we don’t have a lot of crazy gun owners. You barely have any negative gun stories to talk about over a decade in this county. Ed that’s why your viewpoint goes nowhere in politics.

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. - Abraham Lincoln

Maybe some who need to engage their humanity before they post to further their shameless agenda should mind this sage advice? I’d be willing to bet not.

There is risk every day -reckless drivers, drunk drivers, distracted drivers, distracted pedestrians & bicyclists, planes crashing, drownings, etc. ad nauseum - so what?

Don’t forget to read the surrounding stories…the attempted suicide by gun after a traffic accident and the stray bullet that entered someone’s bathroom.

It is important to illustrate the irrational responses to someone mentioning the risks of owning guns. We have a lot of crazy gun owners.

Ed always has an axe to grind with guns. You get one shooting, maybe two in a bad year. Loudoun where more than half the households have firearms. Hundreds of thousands of guns and one or two shootings; out murder rate is lower than most of Europe.

A few more verses to meditate on:

He who toots in church, sit in their own pew.

Once a cuckoo, always a cuckoo.

Mr. Myers might do well to meditate on these verses before commenting on things about which he knows nothing:

“He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame unto him.”  Prov. 18:13

“The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge: but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.”  Prov. 15:14

You are correct, westLOUDOUNer.  Michelle Castillo was not shot.  According to the LCSO in a 2 April news report, she “was beaten and suffocated before she was found hanging in the downstairs bathroom. That hanging was not the cause of her death.” In other words, she was murdered, and her husband tried to make it look like suicide.

I believe that Mr. Myers has some passive-aggressive issues going on.  Furthermore, he needs to get the facts straight before commenting in a public forum. And don’t forget that Myers opposed the building of the LCSO substation next to Rolling Ridge Elementary School in Sterling, on the grounds that the children might see the LCSO cars pulling into the facility, among other things.  He disguises his disdain for authority under the cloak of “pacifism”.

Guns are only used 50% of the time in Loudoun’s rare murders. Asian lady last year stabbed her husband to death. Guy in Leesburg beat his wife with a hammer.

As the population of Loudoun continues to grow, we will see an ever increasing number of murders. In Virginia the murder rate is 3.8 per 100,000.  Loudoun has 300,000+, so we can statistically expect around 11 to 12 murders a year.

Mr. Myers passive aggressive comments are curious given that he opposed the building of the Loudoun County Sherriff’s Office substation on E. Frederick in Sterling (next to Rolling Ridge Elementary).

EdMyers: Not that I believe it concerns you, but neither this news article nor any other I have seen or heard makes mention of a firearm used in the commission of this murder. Where are you getting your information? Multiple other sources (NBC Washington 4, The Daily Mail, etc.) are reporting that she died as a result of a brutal beating, suffocation, and hanging in her own bathroom - in a lame attempt to make it look like a suicide. No mention of a firearm. I would ask if you had no shame but I believe the answer to that question is obvious. I suspect the only shame you have is when you cannot exploit a tragedy to further your own agenda. Absolutely no compassion or respect for anyone other than yourself. This was a murder committed by an obvious depraved and callous human being. If the estranged husband did it (he is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law), he had no business in the home. According to other reports, she had a protective order against him.

Apparently, one can infer a gun was used when no gun was mentioned.

Apparently the best way to become a murder victim in Loudoun County is for those in your household to have ready access to a loaded gun ... “for protection.”

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