SALT LAKE CITY — Criminal charges were filed Wednesday against a Vernal man accused of assaulting his girlfriend and then driving her and her children into the mountains and asking her to pick a child to die.
Brandon Martin Castillo, 33, was charged in 8th District Court with aggravated kidnapping and two counts of child kidnapping, first-degree felonies; aggravated assault and two counts of child abuse inflicting serious injury, second-degree felonies; and two counts of domestic violence in the presence of children, a class B misdemeanor.
Castillo allegedly got into an argument with his live-in girlfriend on July 10.
"During the argument, the defendant punched his girlfriend in the eye, in the ribs, and in the forehead. Defendant also karate chopped his girlfriend in the throat with his hand and climbed on top of his girlfriend and choked her until she lost consciousness," according to charging documents.
When the woman regained consciousness, Castillo "stomped" on her throat with his foot "and told her to dream about which one of her kids was going to die tomorrow," the charges state.
The next day, Castillo took the woman and her two children, ages 5 and 10, into the mountains and "told his girlfriend to pick which kid she wanted to die," according to the charges.
The 5-year-old child began to cry, "so the girlfriend picked up the child and told the child everything was going to be OK. The defendant then told his girlfriend to do it, to kill one of her children and to smother the child she was holding," the charges state.
When she did not, Castillo put everyone back in the car and told the woman "that if she didn’t change, he was going to kill her entire family while she watched and then make her his slave," the court documents say.
The woman wasn't able to get away for "a couple of days," according to police. After she did, she called police.
The woman was able to make her way to a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse.
"She was still shaking and crying as I had her write everything down that she had just explained to me. She told me that she has only been here in Vernal for approximately one month. She stated that they lived together off and on in the Ogden area. She stated that this kind of stuff had been going on the whole time and she never reported it until now. She stated that Brandon had promised to be better if she agreed to move here to Vernal. She believed him," according to a Uintah County Jail report.
The woman told police about several other instances of abuse that she did not report, the report states.
Prosecutors have requested that Castillo be held without bail. The report notes that "this is also not the first time that he has treated a woman in this manner. In 2013, he shot a female in both legs with practice rounds from a .45 caliber handgun."
Court records show he was convicted of aggravated assault resulting in serious bodily injury in 2014 for that case and was sentenced to probation.
Domestic violence resources
- Utah Domestic Violence Coalition operates a confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465). Resources are also available online: udvc.org.
Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting: