Bay Area beheading victim’s family speaks: ‘Feel responsible’

The Bay Area woman who was allegedly beheaded in a domestic violence slaying was a 27-year-old DoorDash driver who leaves behind two young daughters, her family said.

Karina Castro was killed Thursday outside her home in San Carlos. At about 11:50 a.m. Thursday, San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived at Laurel Street and Magnolia Avenue, just a few blocks away from a Caltrain station, after witnesses reported an assault at the residence. Deputies found the woman’s body at the scene, but the sheriff’s office did not specify the cause of death; anonymous law enforcement officials told KGO that the woman was beheaded. 

Jose Rafael Solano Landaeta, 33, was arrested on suspicion of murder and is expected in court later this week. Castro’s family says Landaeta is the father of Castro’s 1-year-old daughter and alleges he was abusive toward Castro. Marty Castro, Karina Castro’s father, said he raced to her home after seeing on the news that a woman had been killed in San Carlos; he said he learned at the scene his daughter was dead.

“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 told KGO. “You feel responsible, no matter what anyone says.”

Karina Castro’s 7-year-old and 1-year-old daughters are with child protective services, Marty Castro said, and he hopes to have them released to his custody. The Community Foundation of San Carlos is taking donations to be put in trust for the children.

“I just want to thank everyone who’s donated to help my daughters kids, my beautiful grandchildren who have lost their mother to a senseless useless person,” Marty Castro wrote on a GoFundMe for the family. “Thank you all, this money will help them and help us give my daughter a funeral to remember I’m devastated broken empty and more hurt than I ever thought I could be by the situation but thank you all for helping us and the worst time of our lives.”

People with information related to the case can contact San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Deputy David Brandt at dbrandt@smcgov.org or 650-333-8195. An investigation is ongoing.

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