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We Now Know the Immigration Status of the Man Suspected of Beheading a Young Mother in California

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Last week, a grisly murder unfolded outside a California apartment complex when 27-year-old Karina Castro was beheaded with a sword in broad daylight in front of witnesses.

Castro reportedly had a restraining order against her former partner, 33-year-old Jose Rafael Solano Landaeta—the man suspected of killing her—though the two continued to talk. According to local media reports, they had a heated argument on Snapchat the day before the murder, with Castro threatening to expose his criminal history, including his rape conviction involving a minor. 

Witnesses say a confrontation took place on the residential street while her daughters were safely inside.

"He got really mad, went to the trunk of his car, pulled out whatever it was and killed her right there behind her car," Castro's father, Marty Castro, told ABC 7. 

"The head was underneath the car and she was laying in back of the car, just severed, and then they covered her up," a neighbor said. 

By the time Marty Castro heard about the incident on the news and showed up at her apartment, the fire department was there washing the blood off the street. 

San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Lt. Eamonn Allen said because of the barbaric nature of the crime, support was being offered to the responding officers and witnesses. 

"Anytime someone loses their life, it's certainly a tragedy," Allen said. "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." 

The suspect is an illegal immigrant from Venezuela who entered the country about a decade ago on a tourist visa and never left, according to the Santa Monica Observer. 

Castro's grandmother, Danielle Gannon, said Landaeta was "a diagnosed schizophrenic on meds" and argued "he would use that as an excuse for his behavior."

"He drank excessively and you're not supposed to do that on those kind of medications," she added. 

The beheading comes a month after a previously deported illegal immigrant allegedly held a 12 year-old-girl captive in his mobile home where the decomposing, dismembered bodies of her mother and brother were found. 

Donald Trump was skewered in 2015 for his comments critical of the U.S.'s illegal immigration issues, noting that America had become a "dumping ground" for the world's problems. 

"They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people," he said. 

"But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we're getting," he continued. "They're sending us not the right people. 

"It's coming from more than Mexico. It's coming from all over South and Latin America, and it's coming probably — probably — from the Middle East," Trump added. "But we don't know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don't know what's happening. And it's got to stop and it's got to stop fast." 

Meanwhile, the Biden administration insists the border is secure. 


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