The victim of a beheading that unfolded late last week during broad daylight on the streets of California has been identified as has the alleged murderer.
The horrifying attack on Thursday occurred in San Carlos, a small town about halfway between San Jose and San Francisco in the state’s wealthy Silicon Valley region. San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies found the victim dead just before noon after they were flagged down by a witness. Her head had been cut off with a samurai sword.
The victim was identified as 27-year-old Karina Castro, a mother of two daughters, who worked as a DoorDash driver.
Police filed murder charges against 33-year-old Jose Raphael Solano Landaeta, who fathered Castro’s youngest daughter.
“Anytime someone loses their life, it’s certainly a tragedy,” San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Eamonn Allen told reporters. “As far as the shocking nature of it, I do know that the deputies that first arrived on scene were a little beset by the scene. We are providing them peer support. We are also providing support for the witnesses that were on scene as well because there were several civilian witnesses.”
Castro’s father said that Landaeta was abusive toward her and said that he felt responsible for what happened by not intervening.
“If there’s somebody out there abusing your daughter, don’t take off. Don’t let it go. Don’t take no for an answer,” Marty Castro said in an interview. “You feel responsible, no matter what anyone says.”
“Every time I saw her, I would beg her, don’t talk to him,” he added. “Leave him and it seemed like the more I did that, the more she would see him.”
Law enforcement said that Landaeta was arrested after he returned to the scene of the crime.
Karina’s grandmother, Danielle Gannon, said in an interview that Landaeta was “a diagnosed schizophrenic on meds” and that he would use his condition as an excuse for how he acted.
“He would use that as an excuse for his behavior,” she said. “He drank excessively and you’re not supposed to do that on those kind of medications.”