MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Authorities in Baca County, Colorado, have identified the remains of a missing McAllen woman 35 years after her disappearance.
Nora Elia Castillo was formally reported missing in 1996 — but the reporting party told authorities that she had been missing since 1986 or 1987, a post from the Baca County Sheriff’s Office stated this week.
The reporting party told the McAllen Police Department that her last contact was a collect call from “somewhere in Colorado,” the post stated.
In June 1988, a farmer reported to authorities that he found what believed were human remains, 20 miles southwest of Springfield, Colorado.
A coroner responded to the scene and confirmed the remains — stating that they had been there for one to three years. Authorities searched the area for several days, the post stated, but to no avail.
“Nothing was found to be able to identify the remains or to assist in determining how or why the person had died, or how they ended up in the farmer’s field,” the post stated.
After an “extensive investigation,” the remains were given the name Jane Doe and buried at the Springfield Cemetery.
On Dec. 12, 2021, the woman’s remains were exhumed in order to obtain new DNA samples.
On Oct. 6, authorities received word of a possible DNA match with a family member who had submitted a sample to the McAllen Police Department, which received the sample from a woman searching for her missing mother Nora Elia Castillo, the post stated.
With evidence collected from McAllen PD, investigators with the Baca County Sheriff’s Office determined that the remains belonged to Castillo.
Authorities said they were able to locate Castillo’s family and notify them as to where her remains are buried.
“It is still unknown why Nora Elia Castillo was in Colorado or the circumstances of her death,” authorities stated.
The investigation was conducted by the Baca County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the Baca County Coroner’s Office, Michele Kennedy with Solved by DNA, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the McAllen Police Department, NAMUs and the University of of North Texas.