Ex-husband of California mom of two found dead charged with murder

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The ex-husband of a Los Angeles-area woman whose body was found days after she went missing has been charged in her death. 

Zarbab Ali, 25, is accused of killing Rachel Castillo, 25. He has been charged with murder, lying in wait, and a personal knife enhancement. 

Castillo was reported missing from her Simi Valley home on Nov. 10. She dropped off her two kids with Ali earlier in the day. Her mother told the Los Angeles Times that Castillo was supposed to work remotely as a health care navigator for a social services agency.


Her sister, Emily, who lived with her, found a large amount of blood in their apartment when she came home, the Simi Valley Police Department said. Authorities said there was evidence of a “violent attack” at the scene. 

Castillo’s personal belongings, including her cellphone, car keys and car, were still at the house, police said.

Her body was found Nov. 13 in a remote area in the Antelope Valley, northeast of Los Angeles. Ali was later arrested at his parents’ home in Victorville in connection with her death. 

The two children, boys ages 2 and 5, were unharmed, police said. 

“This was a young mother with a very bright future who was working on behalf of a local non-profit provider while attending graduate school,” Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko said in a statement Tuesday. “Rachel’s murder is a tragedy for Ventura County and my office will be seeking justice for her two young children and entire family.”

Investigators have not disclosed a motive for the killing. In a Tuesday news conference, authorities said Ali did not have any restraining order filed against him, and he did not have any prior arrests locally or statewide, Fox Los Angeles reported. 

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