A California man who authorities say went to a jail to turn himself in for murdering his ex-girlfriend was initially turned away by law enforcement officials and told to go to a nearby police department.
Hugo Castro, 28, was arrested for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Alessandra Barlas, whose body was found stabbed in a downtown condo that neither of them lived in, San Jose police said.
Barlas, 27, worked as an executive assistant at a San Francisco-based advertising agency, which said on its website that she had a love for “studying for her nursing degree and pumping iron.” The agency declined to comment.
“God has taken another angel from us. Alessandra has touched the lives of so many with her constant smile and her positive attitude. She was such a beautiful person inside and out, and would always put others before herself,” loved ones wrote on a GoFundMe page created to pay for the woman’s funeral.
“Ally your infectious smile will forever be engrained in our minds and hearts,” one donor wrote.
“A beautiful person that left us too soon,” another posted.
Castro was denied bail and is due back in court on November 16, according to Department of Correction records. Information for his attorney was not immediately available.
But before he was charged with Barlas’ murder, Castro walked into to the main lobby of the Santa Clara County jail on Monday and told a civilian worker that he wanted to “turn himself in,” the Sheriff’s department said in a statement.
The worker thought Castro was ordered to surrender for a crime and when she found that he had no record, she involved a correctional deputy, the department said.
Castro told the correctional deputy he wanted to speak with him alone, and then passed a note to the civilian worker that said he knew where a dead body was in San Jose.
“At no time did Mr. Castro say he was responsible for the dead body or had any involvement in a crime,” the department said.
As soon as the correctional deputy found out about the note, he told Castro to go to the San Jose Police Department to tell them where the body was, which he did immediately, they said.
The Sheriff’s department said it has launched an investigation into the incident.
“If the initial findings are true, then the Custody Deputy failed to meet the expectations of the department and we’ll take appropriate action to deal with the deputy. The Custody Deputy has been reassigned from his current position at the Main Jail pending the final outcome of the internal investigation into his actions."
The probe is the latest controversy surrounding the county jail, which is being audited by a blue-ribbon commission led by retired Judge LaDoris Cordell, who served as San Jose’s independent police auditor.
She vowed at a press conference to make the commission’s work as transparent as possible as well as complete its efforts in four months.
“It’s sad we are in a reactive mode. But I have been assured we will be provided all the information we need to do our job,” Cordell said.
The sheriff’s office, with the help of the FBI, is also investigating a flood of complaints from inmates that came in before and after the August arrest of three deputies accused of beating an inmate to death, according to reports.