The remains of a Connecticut man were discovered buried five feet under a garage more than eight years after he vanished, and now the local landlord who led detectives to his body faces murder charges.
Bridgeport police said on Thursday that “strong evidence” suggests the two men arrested in connection with the murder of 24-year-old Aryndel Castro had beaten and choked him to death on the night of Sept. 22, 2013. After murdering Castro, Shawn Gibson, 45, and Terrence Boyd, 55, went to The Home Depot to purchase cleaning supplies in an “elaborate clean-up effort,” cops said.
The pair then rented a van on two occasions, cops said, transporting Castro’s body multiple times in a large plastic bag the days after the murder.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by the Connecticut Post, after he was arrested on Thursday, Gibson both admitted to disposing of Castro’s body and led them to the young man’s remains, which detectives dug out from under five feet of earth beneath the detached garage of Gibson’s cousin’s home.
Lieutenant Chris LaMaine, a detective who vowed never to give up trying to solve the case, emerged from the crawlspace brandishing his shovel after locating Castro’s remains, which were carried out on a stretcher, according to the Connecticut Post. The search crew first had to bust a covered window to get inside the basement-like space which was so cramped they were forced to forego power tools and instead dig by hand with shovels to find Castro’s body, LaMaine said.
The more the crew dug, the more they began to think Gibson had deceived them, until they finally found the remains “buried very deep,” he added.
Bridgeport State’s Attorney Joseph Corradino said: “We did all in our power to find Ari’s body so his family can have peace and closure.”
Castro’s disappearance had remained cloaked in mystery for nearly a decade after he was first reported missing in September 2013. The search for the young man eventually involved the department’s homicide unit, which dove into the case the following spring.
According to the affidavit, in 2014 an informant told detectives that Boyd, who had previously been convicted of beating a woman and drowning her in a swimming pool in the 1980s, had murdered Castro.
Boyd, who was arrested in South Carolina on Wednesday, also admitted to helping Gibson in the murder, according to the affidavit.
After detectives interviewed Boyd in May 2014, he said that he had watched Gibson beat the 24-year-old to death in a rooming house he owned, the affidavit states.
When detectives later approached Gibson about the claims, LaMaine said Gibson declined to talk to detectives, heeding the advice of his lawyer, and without “a single cell of DNA,” LaMaine told the Connecticut Post that it was difficult to prove Castro was dead.
According to the affidavit, it wasn’t until last month that two witnesses came forward and backed up some of the details Boyd had shared with detectives.
LaMaine told the Connecticut Post that when he went to Gibson with the findings, hoping to pressure the man to lead authorities to Castro’s body, he finally relented.
The effort has enabled Castro’s family to finally get some semblance of closure in his disappearance.
Castro’s brother, Aneudi Rosa, said that he was grateful to LaMaine for never giving up on the search for his brother.
“It’s been a long eight years since my brother disappeared but we never gave up and thankfully the police never gave up,” Rosa said from the courthouse lobby as he awaited Gibson’s arraignment, according to the Connecticut Post. “He kept his promise and found my brother’s killers.”
A medical examiner is expected to perform an autopsy on Friday to confirm the identity of the body, cops said.
Gibson was charged with murder and is being held on a $250,000 bond. Boyd will be extradited to Connecticut where he will also be charged with murder.
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