Missing and Murdered ChildrenWell, I Left Her in the Car…
10.09: Trial Date Engelica Castillo – March 2010
Original Post: June 17, 2009Last Updated: 10.26.2009View Sources
This story is eerily similar to the October 2008 disappearance of two-year-old Tangena Hussain in Michigan. She has never been found.
Last night Gary, Indiana police received a call about a missing two-year-old female. According to the babysitter, Angelica Castillo, 18, she left the toddler in her car while she ran into a the Glen Park Gas Station, at 1401 E. Ridge Rd. in Gary, Indiana to purchase a gallon of milk and cigarettes. According to the babysitter, when she returned to the vehicle the child was gone. She called police at 9:30p.m.
According to the child’s mother, the babysitter is her cousin and her daughter has been staying with the cousin for about eight days. She says the last time she spoke to her daughter it was either Thursday or Friday.
I don’t know. If I had left my two-year-old with relatives for a planned two-week summer stay I think I would be calling my child each night to say good-night and to see how she was adjusting to the visit. I watched the video of the interview with the mother and she seems sort of detached about the whole thing. I could not see if she was crying real tears or not because of the sunglasses she was wearing during the interview. The father seems more concerned and has made statement that he does not believe the babysitter’s account of what happened.
“I think it was more like, ‘I made a mistake, I did something,’” said Jada’s father Clarence Justice. “To me, that’s the vibes I got is like, ‘I did something.’ I don’t want to speak on it, I don’t want to speak on the worst.’”
“I don’t know. I don’t know what to feel. There are so many different speculations,” said Jada’s mother Melissa Swiontek. “I feel like I’m going to find her. I mean, I do feel like she can’t be gone, like it’s not even happening.”1
As in the Hussain disappearance, there is no video to show what went on at the vehicle.
However, in this disappearance witnesses have come forward stating they did not see a child in the car. The storekeeper stated the babysitter was only in the store a little over a minute and search dogs have not picked up Jada’s scent at the gas station. I don’t know how search dogs work but maybe they can’t pick up a scent because it was raining that night.
Other concerns involve fresh burns on the boyfriend’s arms and face for which he has not given a reasonable explanation. The boyfriend and babysitter are still being questioned by Gary, Indiana police.
Strangely enough as of this evening an AMBER Alert has not been issued for the this child. Michigan authorities issued an AMBER Alert for Tangena when she was reported missing under similar circumstances. I don’t suppose an AMBER Alert will help in this situation anyway. It didn’t help find Tangena.
If you know the whereabouts of Jada Justice or the circumstances surrounding her disappearance you are asked to call either the Hobart, Indiana Police Department at 1-219-942-1125 or the F.B.I. hotline at 317-639-3301.
Jada is a 2-year-old black female. She is 2′2″ tall and weighs 35lbs. Jada has brown eyes and black hair. Her date of birth is August 3, 2006. When last seen Jada was wearing an orange skirt and striped shirt.
The FBI has entered the case as of this evening. They are treating the case as a possible abduction. Law enforcement, the FBI, and family members converged on the convenience store property this evening. They were searching the area and handing out Jada’s picture.
Law enforcement are trying to put together a time line. They are asking people to come forward and tell them the last time they saw Jada, where she was, and who she was with at the time.
Police plan to charge the 18-year-old babysitter with felony child neglect for leaving Jada in the car unattended. Police also served a search warrant on the babysitter’s home. The took away some articles of clothing.
Sunday June 21, 2009
There really isn’t much to write about regarding Jada’s disappearance. By that I mean she is still ‘missing’. Police do not buy into the claim the babysitter, Angelica Castillo, of how Jada disappeared. The home the 18-year-old former gang member shares with her boyfriend was searched. Investigators did some digging in the backyard of the home; however, they determined the child was not buried there.
Angelica Castillo was arrested on charges of felony child neglect, but the charges were later dropped.
Police believe there are witnesses out there who know what happened to Jada. They may have witnessed something that they don’t realize is important to the investigation. They are asking for the public’s help. They want to know the following information:
Police are looking for anyone who may have seen her (Angelica Castillo) or her boyfriend, Tim Tkachik, between Sunday June 14 and Tuesday June 16. They may have been driving either a 1991 maroon Cadillac Fleetwood or a 1999 Chevy Tahoe…
…”We believe there are individuals who have information important to this investigation who have not yet come forward because they did not feel their information was important, they thought someone else may have reported it, or they believe it was not relevant,” said Deputy Chief Jeff White, Hobart Police.2
(The bold text in the quote above was added by me for clarification purposes).
Police announced there would be no search conducted for Jada today. They did not give a reason for halting the search; however, they did say the search would resume tomorrow. I don’t know, maybe the search was put on hold because it is Father’s Day.
Jada’s mother, Melissa Swiontek, issued a plea in the media on Friday night.
“I have no idea. I just want her home. I have no idea. She just needs to come home. Somebody has an idea. Somebody knows something and they need to talk,” said Melissa Swiontek, Jada’s (sic) mothe.3
Rewards & Contacts
The family is offering a $6,000 reward for information leading to Jada’s recovery.
•Gary Police Commander Anthony Titus: (219) 881-1237, (219) 881-1229, (219) 881-1209 or (219) 881-1210.
The FBI is treating Jada’s disappearance as a possible abduction. Gary and Hobart Police contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to see if an AMBER Alert could now be issued for Jada. The answer was no, that Jada’s disappearance does not meet their criteria for an AMBER Alert. OK, I am scratching my head once again regarding the decision of who qualifies for an AMBER Alert.
Gary police contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, but learned the case involving Jada did not meet the criteria for an AMBER Alert because investigators do not have detailed information on a suspect.4