Monday, March 31, 2008

BALTIMORE (AP) — A Montgomery County man yesterday killed his three young children at a downtown hotel, then called the front desk, according to Baltimore police.

Mark A. Castillo, 41, of Rockville, faces prosecution on 15 charges, including three counts of first-degree murder and six counts of child abuse. He was charged about 1 p.m. today after his release from a hospital where he was treated for self-inflicted cuts to his neck, police said.

The children are identified as Anthony, 6, Austin, 4, and Athena, 2, but few other details were provided.

“There’s a lot we don’t know about it right now,” police spokesman Sterling Clifford told WBAL Radio.

However, Mr. Castillo has been involved in a custody dispute with his wife for about two years, according to Maryland court records.

Mrs. Castillo filed for divorce and sole custody of the children in July 2006.

In August 2006, a judge granted Mrs. Castillo temporary sole custody, with Mr. Castillo receiving supervised visitation rights. The records show that in December 2006, a judge granted Mrs. Castillo a temporary protective order, but she was denied a final protective order in January 2007. The most recent address for the family is the 400 block of Waterford Road, in Silver Spring.

A judge granted the divorce last month. Just last week, Mr. Castillo filed a motion for ownership of their car.

After hotel security called police, officers went to the 10th-floor room and found the children dead and Mr. Castillo with minor cuts that appear to be self-inflicted. He did not give details on how the children were killed.

Mr. Castillo was taken to a hospital for treatment of the cuts and is in police custody.

Many guests at the hotel were unaware of what had happened, particularly because the killings took place on the top floor.

The only clues that something out of the ordinary was going on were a few television trucks parked outside and a police officer by the elevator bank asking guests to which floor they were headed.

WJLA-TV Channel 4 reported the hotel was only half filled because of renovations.

The 494-room hotel, on Eutaw Street, does a steady business because it is at the hub of the city’s business and tourism centers. It is just blocks from the Baltimore Convention Center, the Inner Harbor and Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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