Albuquerque family pleads for return of murdered son’s dog

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A young Albuquerque man was found murdered and left in a creek in another state. Now, his family is pleading to get an important piece of his life back — his dog.

The Castillo family said they always worried when their son went off on one of his adventures.

“Since he was a child, he’s been our crazy, wild, adventurous kid,” Deborah Castillo said.

All that was taken away the day someone murdered her son.

“They usually don’t find bodies like this in the creek,” she said.

Deborah Castillo said her son Dominic, 22, decided to go backpacking across the country.

His parents weren’t always fans of these spur of the moment trips. Still, they figured he would be fine as usual when he left for the east coast just before Christmas.

David Castillo, Dominic’s father, said his son wanted to make it to the Mississippi River. He said Dominic posted updates for family and friends on his Facebook. But Deborah said those posts stopped one day in January.

“I kept kept texting him one day asking, ‘Why aren’t you answering me?'” she said.

Dominic also took his best friend along for the trip.

“A three-legged dog with unusual colors. Her name is Lily,” David Castillo said. “He loved her. He even had a tattoo with a lily on his hand.”

The family said the last photo Dominic posted to Facebook was on January 22. The two photos overlooked the Mississippi River. Nearly two months went by with no word from Dominic. Then, March 31, Deborah said they received the devastating news.

“A letter, from the Memphis Forensics Department, they were trying to locate next of kin,” Deborah Castillo said. “We knew what that meant.”

Their son’s body turned up in the Nonconnah Creek. According to the Memphis Police Department, he had been strangled.

As for Lily, the family found out the dog had been rescued and then adopted out.

They said the person who has her refuses to give her up, but they refuse to give up on fighting to bring her home.

“This is not just a dog, this is a dog that he rescued who was his life companion, who he may have given his life for,” David said. “I really believe that that was a strong possibility.”

No one has been arrested in connection to the murder. According to Memphis police, the case is still under investigation.

The family has created a Facebook page called “Bring Lilly Home.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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