A man found with blood splattered on his hands and clothing last Tuesday near Point Mugu rock, was charged with murder of his girlfriend, whose body parts were found strewn in the ocean. His bail has been set at $1 million.
Ventura County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Alfonso Castillo, 37, of North Hills for the suspected murder and mutilation of his live-in girlfriend Maria Guadalupe Pinaloza Ambario, 34.
A Ventura County sheriff’s deputy, on a routine patrol of the area, noticed an illegally parked white Ford Ranger on Pacific Coast Highway at 1:45 a.m. Eric Nishimoto, spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, reported that when the deputy stopped he saw a man climbing up from the rocky shoreline. Backup was called when he noticed blood spattered on Castillo’s hands and clothing, but the suspect willingly let the deputies search his bloodied vehicle.
Apparently, upon realizing the situation, Castillo decided to flee but was apprehended shortly thereafter and taken into custody. During this time, a deputy’s searchlight illuminated something floating in the ocean. Upon investigation the officers discovered several body parts. The sheriff’s team announced that the dismembered parts belonged to a woman, but further identification was impossible at that time.
A search and rescue mission began at daylight to uncover any remaining evidence and to locate the rest of the body. By 7 a.m. two Coastguard boats and a sheriff’s helicopter were on the scene. Search and rescue land and diving teams were also called in and Ventura officials set up a command post. The hectic situation caused southbound traffic to be intermittently delayed as the search continued and several news crews reported from the scene.
Twenty divers searched the area in relatively calm seas, and at about 11 a.m. more body parts were found. By noon, strong winds began to blow and the search effort became increasingly hampered. Search and rescue volunteer Scott Wight said at the scene, “We hoped to expedite the search before the tide swept any evidence away. We’re losing ground as the waves pick-up.”
The divers and helicopter retreated as the ocean’s visibility decreased and last week’s Santa Ana winds took hold.
By late Tuesday afternoon, more remains were located and identification was possible, but scaled-back search efforts continued throughout the weekend.
“We have restricted our search to the helicopter unit and we alerted Point Mugu Park officials to be on the look out for anything washing up on shore,” said Nishimoto.
The Ventura District Attorney’s office says the couple had no children together, but friends indicated that Ambario had children (by a different man) in Mexico.
Officials also discovered that murder suspect Castillo had an INS violation for “re-entry after deportation” so he will remain in custody on a federal hold. The suspect also has a minor criminal record in Los Angeles County and has used several aliases. He has no prior convictions involving violence.
Ventura District Attorney Patricia Murphy will prosecute the case and Castillo was assigned a public defender and appeared in Superior Court on Monday where the case was continued until Jan. 10. On Monday, the L.A. County coroner released the cause of death as asphyxiation. They have been unable to determine whether drowning or strangulation may have been the involved.
No weapons have been found and the suspect’s motives are unknown.