News Releases

September 14, 2017: Man Charged with Killing Girlfriend in Whittier

Sarah Ardalani, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

A 56-year-old man was charged today with fatally shooting his girlfriend in their home on Monday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Rafael Ayala Castillo (dob 2/21/61) has been charged with one count of murder in case VA145805. The felony complaint includes a special allegation that the defendant personally and intentionally discharged a firearm, which caused great bodily injury and death to the victim.

Castillo is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Department 6 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Bellflower Branch. Prosecutors are asking that bail be set at $3 million.

Prosecutors said Castillo and his girlfriend, Sandra Rodriguez Polanco, 54, had been in a relationship for nearly 10 years and shared an apartment together in the 11700 block of Floral Drive in Whittier.

On Sept. 12, a family member of Polanco’s went to her home and found the victim with a fatal gunshot wound to the head, according to prosecutors.

Authorities were called and police began searching for Castillo, prosecutors said. The defendant was located that afternoon in the city of Reseda and taken into custody.

If convicted as charged, Castillo faces a maximum possible sentence of 50 years to life in state prison.

The domestic violence case is being investigated by the Whittier Police Department.