A woman in Spokane, Washington, has been arrested after admitting to police that she had killed and decapitated her adult son before dumping his body in June 2022.
Christine Castelli, 58, told major crimes detectives at the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office that she had shot her son several times at a residence in the 1400 block of West Jennings Road, west of Spangle, before removing the head and disposing of the body.
The crime occurred at her boyfriend’s house, according to local reports.
The county’s sheriff’s office wrote in a statement that the force had received a tip-off regarding the death from Castelli’s brother, who said his sister had confessed to him, on the evening of January 14, 2023. He believed her to be telling the truth as he had not seen her 35-year-old son since last summer.
Deputies met Castelli and her brother in the parking lot of the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane that same night, after he had driven her there from his residence on the west side of the state.
The brother, who has not been named, said that his sister had been under “a lot of stress” and struggling with addiction at the time of the suspected incident, the sheriff’s office said.
Castelli confirmed the information her brother had given detectives. According to local TV news channel KREM2, she claimed her son had threatened her several times with a gun leading up to his death.
It reported that, in an interview, she said she had shot her son five or six times while he was sitting on the couch of her boyfriend’s house.
Citing court documents, it said she then cut his head off with a saw and wrapped the body in black plastic. Her boyfriend was not home at the time.
Castelli led detectives to Gene Webb Road, near Rock Lake, in Whitman County, to recover the remains of her son. She had dumped them under a bridge near Kamiache Creek, which runs alongside the road, KREM2 said.
Castelli told the deputies that she had discarded other pieces of evidence along the way. KREM2 said she then cleaned her boyfriend’s home with peroxide and disposed of the sofa with his help.
After being led to the site, a detective located a large, black plastic bag containing human remains. Deputies from Whitman County secured the site until the following day, when it could be searched for evidence during daylight.
Catelli has been arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder and remains in Spokane County Jail, the sheriff’s office said. Her bond has been set at $1.5 million, according to KREM2.
The sheriff’s office stated that the investigation was still ongoing, but added that the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office would release the name of her son, as well as their understanding of the cause of death, “when appropriate.”
There have been several beheadings in Washington state in recent years.
In July 2022, Collin Boldizsar was charged with the alleged killing and decapitation of his mother the previous month in Shoreline, a satellite city of Seattle. According to the Seattle Times, his mother had obtained a no-contact order shortly before her death, related to a prior arrest concerning domestic violence.
In March 2018, the body of Katherine Cunningham was found decapitated near a bunker on Camano Island, north of Seattle. Her death sparked a multi-state manhunt for her boyfriend, Jacob Gonzales, whose own body was found a month later floating in the Feather River in California.