Orange County District Attorney
Press Release

Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

For Immediate Release
August 22nd, 2002
Contact:Susan Kang Schroeder
(714) 347-8408

On August 22, 2002, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office filed forcible rape and kidnapping with the intent to rape charges against Robert Castillo, age 30, formerly of Santa Ana.  Thanks to multi-agency cooperation led by the Fountain Valley Police Department, a suspect from a brutal rape case stemming from a 1995 incident has been arrested.

On Thursday, February 23, 1995, at approximately 7:30 P.M., a 28-year-old female was returning home after running an errand to the 7-11 Store located at 10044 Ellis in the City of Fountain Valley.  As she walked east of the business and along a path by a condominium wall, the victim was grabbed from behind, forced to a secluded area, held at knifepoint and brutally raped.

The crime remained unsolved until DNA evidence from the 1995 rape gathered by the Fountain Valley Police Department was analyzed and submitted by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to a statewide database.  A positive hit was made on Castillo.  At the time of the DNA hit, Castillo was a Parolee At Large and his whereabouts were unknown.  With the assistance of the California Department of Corrections Los Angeles Fugitive Apprehension Team and the U.S. Marshall’s Investigative Services Division, Castillo was arrested in Costa Mesa on the parole violation and booked at the California Institution for Men at Chino

“The arrest of the suspect was a result of hard work and cooperative efforts of the Fountain Valley Police Department, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, California Department of Corrections, Los Angeles Fugitive Apprehension Team, U.S. Marshall’s Investigative Services Division, and Department of Justice Cold Hit Program,” Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas stated.  “As each of these DNA cases are solved and more rapists are removed from our streets, the women in our community can feel safer from these predators.  There will be fewer victims of unsolved crimes looking over their shoulder.  The most basic definition of quality of life is to be able to walk down the streets without fear of these types of attacks.”

“Thanks to the quick acting work of the Fountain Valley Police Department, California Department of Corrections, U.S. Marshall’s Office, Orange County District Attorney, and the Department of Justice Cold Hit Program, another dangerous criminal was taken off the streets,” California Attorney General Bill Lockyer stated.  “Once again, DNA forensics has proven that violent felons can run, but they can’t hide.”

The California Cold Hit Program is funded by the Governor’s Office of Criminal Justice Planning and administered by the Attorney General’s Department of Justice DNA Lab in Richmond.  The California Cold Hit Program helps local law enforcement agencies analyze DNA evidence, such as blood or hair, from unsolved sexual assault cases and homicide cases with a sexual component.

Since 1989, California law has required blood and saliva samples to be taken from individuals convicted of specified sex and violent crimes.  The samples yield DNA profiles, which are stored in the Department of Justice Convicted Felon data bank.  DNA profiles extracted from crime scene evidence are compared to the profiles in the data bank, and a match in an unsolved case is considered a ‘cold hit.’  More than 200,000 DNA profiles from convicted felons have been developed.

Castillo, if convicted, could face an indeterminate life term in prison under the “One Strike” legislation.  Castillo is currently being held at the California Institution for Men at Chino.

This Fountain Valley Police Department (FVPD) case marks the 100th DNA cold hit for the program.  This is the second DNA “cold hit” for FVPD.

The other Fountain Valley Police Department cold DNA hit case involved a suspect who entered a second story apartment balcony via an unlocked and open sliding glass door in 1995.  The 35-year-old, female victim was sexually assaulted and robbed by the suspect.  A DNA sample matched James Detory Shipp, age 33, of Santa Ana.  He was charged in July of 2001 with the 1995 sexual assault, burglary and robbery.  Shipp’s preliminary hearing date is set for August 23, 2002.