A hammer-wielding madman allegedly bludgeoned his girlfriend and her daughter to death in their Queens home because he believed they were “witches” who were performing voo-doo on him, police sources told The New York Post.
The brutally beaten bodies of Estrella Castaneda, 56, and her
25-year-old Lina Castaneda – herself the mother of a 7-year-old girl –
were found about 12:15 a.m. in their home at 24-10 87th St. near
Carlos Amarillo, 44, of the same address, was taken into custody at
the scene and charged with second-degree murder in an attack so vicious
neighbors could hear the hammering – but had no clue the women were
“Around midnight we heard loud hammering. It was loud. I work in
construction so I know what a hammer sounds like. I can’t believe it was
the sound of someone getting hit. It sounded like someone was swinging
that hammer hard,” said Neighbor Camilo Alvarez, 23.
“I didn’t hear anybody screaming,” he added. “About 15, 20 minutes
later the police came and arrested someone in the front yard. I can’t
imagine what they went through. It’s disgusting. I’ve been up all night,
I couldn’t sleep.”
Sources said Amarillo confessed and made the bizarre claims that the
women were witches who were “doing voodoo on him” during questioning at
the 115th precinct house, where he remained in custody Wednesday
A next door neighbor, who declined to give her name, said, “I would
hear yelling and fighting. I would hear banging like he was beating
them. He wasn’t a friendly guy,” she said.
“This summer he broke the windows when he couldn’t open the door
after they locked him out,” she said, also adding that cops had been
called to the house before. “He wasn’t a friendly guy, he would never
say hello to anyone. I think he was from Argentina.”
She also said she felt the walls of her house shaking last night. “My
room was shaking. It went on for 10 minutes,” she said. “My body is
trembling. I can’t believe this happened. What’s going to happen to the
Lina Castaneda’s 7-year-old daughter was at home at the time and has
been taken to Elmhurst Hospital, according to Arnoldo Parra, whose
nephew is the father of the girl. “These are excellent women and I’m not
just saying that because they are relatives. I never met the man
(Carlos) he recently came into the picture. I hear he’s from Argentina
or Uruguay,” he said.
Another neighbor, Deborah Pawluk, 58, mournfully recalled the slain women and the young girl left behind.
“They were a lovely family, they were always happy. She’s an adorable
little girl. The mother would have birthday parties in the front yard
for her. You’d always see them together,” Pawluk said.
“I can’t believe this happened. I can’t fathom something like that.
This is something this girl will never forget. How is this child going
to process that? How are you going to get rid of seeing something like
that? They were a happy family up until yesterday. That was that little
girl’s only family and now they’re gone,” she lamented.