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Missing Marlon Devine Santos
Marlon, circa 1998; Jose Castillo
Missing Since 11/05/1998
Classification Endangered Missing
Date of Birth Used 06/05/1998 (22)
Age 5 months old
Height and Weight 2'1, 15 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics Hispanic male. Black hair, brown eyes.
Details of Disappearance Marlon was placed in a foster home in the 100 block of Eastern Avenue in Worcester, Massachusetts in August 1998; his caregivers were Jose M. Castillo and Yolanda I. Castillo.
His biological mother was homeless and frequently left him with others for days at a time, and Marlon tested positive for drugs at birth. His biological father was seeking custody of him when he disappeared. Marlon was last seen at his foster home on November 5, 1998. His foster parents did not report him missing for two days.
Yolanda claimed her husband was on a day trip in New York on the day Marlon disappeared. She said she left Marlon and two other foster children, aged 2 and 3, in the house alone between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m., while she drove to East Middle School eight miles away to pick up her two biological children.
When Yolanda returned, Marlon was gone. She drove to New York to pick up Jose before she notified police of the baby's disappearance. The last person besides Yolanda to see the baby was the Castillos' seventeen-year-old biological child, who saw him at noon on November 5, but left the house before Marlon disappeared.
After Marlon was reported missing, the Castillos' other foster children were immediately removed from their home by the Massachusetts Department of Social Services. Six weeks later, their biological children were also removed, though they were later returned to the home.
The Castillos were both ministers in 1998 and had cared for 51 foster children since 1993. Multiple reports of neglect and abuse were made against them prior to Marlon's disappearance, but none of the accounts were substantiated. Both Jose and Yolanda have refused to cooperate with the police in Marlon's disappearance.
Jose has an extensive criminal record in his native Puerto Rico. In 1999, he was charged with sexually assaulting three female children, one of them his stepdaughter and the other two his former foster children. A photograph of Jose is posted with this case summary.
Authorities stated the sex abuse allegations came to light when they were investigating Marlon's disappearance. In 2000, Jose was convicted of assaulting one of his former foster daughters and was sentenced to term of five to seven and a half years in prison.
In October 1999, police received information that Marlon's remains were buried on the banks of the Wachusett Reservoir off Route 70 in Boylston, Massachusetts. They searched the area and found torn baby clothing, a diaper and some pieces of plastic. They believe the baby's body may have been wrapped in the plastic.
No indication of human remains was located, and laboratory analysis of the items located did not turn up any clues, such as hair, blood or other body fluids.
Authorities stated there were inconsistencies in the Castillos' story. Although there are rumors that the child was sold in New York, police are investigating Marlon's disappearance as a possible homicide. His biological parents have both been ruled out as suspects in his case, which remains unsolved.
Investigating Agency / Department