A Decade Later, Police Still Looking for Killer of Susana Castillo-Mendez

On March 13, 2009, Susana Castillo-Mendez was found murdered in her apartment building by Chesterfield Police. The police stumbled upon the gruesome crime scene by surprise, as they were sent to Susana’s residence on a welfare check. Just an hour previously, the troubled young woman had called 9-1-1 and confessed to the operate that she was depressed, paranoid, and exhausted of living, and was planning on taking her life by jumping from a bridge into the James River or off a highway overpass. Within just a few minutes of talking though, Susana claimed she changed her mind and was going to drive back to her apartment.

Shortly after Chesterfield Police was able to obtain Susana’s address from checking her phone record, two county deputies knocked on her door to check on her. They found her door unlocked, and entered her apartment and called her name. Receiving no answer, the deputies searched the apartment, and found the bedroom door jammed shut. The police checked the outside balcony, and determined the window to the bedroom was unlocked, and gained access. Immediately they found the beaten and bloody body of 23 year old Susana Castillo-Mendez.

Details about the crime scene are disturbing. It was clear than an intense struggle had taken place. A bloody baseball bat found in the corner of the room was determined to be the weapon used in killing her due to trauma to the head, but she also sustained multiple stab and cut wounds. One of the most gruesome facts of the scene was reports that blood and bits of flesh was smeared and sprayed across parts of the walls, furniture, and even some on the ceiling. Who could commit such a frenzied attack on a young woman was the big question for Chesterfield Police, and they soon recieves help from State Police and Federal Investigators in the coming weeks and months.

Unfortunately, answers eluded investigators. While several suspects were questioned, no one was ever charged with the crime. An ex-boyfriend named Roberto Johnson was a person of interest, as he had been accused of stalking and harassing Susana. Several of Susana’s neighbors claimed they saw him just a week before she was killed. Police confirmed they found and questioned Roberto, but considering he was never arrested or charged it is assumed he had an alibi or was cleared forensically.

The estranged former boyfriend was not the only suspect or theory behind who could have killed Susana. It was also discovered that she had been receiving death threats online. Yet another possibility was a racist hate group that had targeted the apartment complex with threatening fliers against any and all minorities. Digging into her past revealed yet another boyfriend who had been abusive towards her and had been charged with committing violence.

In a released statement, the investigators attempting to solve the case strongly believed that the attack was not random, and that the murderer knew Susana and had some sort of heated relationship with her. Despite that, police could never connect any of the possible suspects to the actual crime. Now 10 years later, the case remains unsolved.