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Remains of missing Simi Valley woman found in Antelope Valley, ex-husband arrested

Simi Valley mother found dead in Antelope Valley; ex-husband arrested
Simi Valley mother found dead in Antelope Valley; ex-husband arrested 02:13

The ex-husband of a Simi Valley woman who went missing has been arrested in connection with her death. 

The remains of Rachel Castillo, 25, who was first reported missing on Thursday, were located by detectives in a remote part of the Antelope Valley on Sunday, according to the Simi Valley Police Department. 

Castillo's sister, Emily, reported her sister missing Thursday night after she arrived to their home in Simi Valley and called 911 after finding a "significant amount of blood." All of Rachel's belongings were still at home, including her phone, keys and vehicle. 

After authorities arrived, they quickly determined that a struggle had taken place.

SVPD detectives identified Castillo's former husband, Zarbab Ali as the primary suspect and arrested him at his parent's home in Victorville. He was booked for murder and is being held on $510,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday. 

Castillo and Ali had two children together. The suspect would pick up the young children, who are five years old and two-years-old, every Thursday morning, according to her family. They said that there were no signs of abuse leading up to the custody exchange. 

Robyn Castillo, Rachel's mother, said that she had spoken to Ali, who often goes by Bobby, as the search was underway. She noted that he posted on Facebook asking for help locating her. 

"For him to do this and play along that he was upset and worried, it just hurts my heart," Robyn said, noting that her daughter was last heard from before the two did a scheduled custody exchange of their children on Thursday. "I let him into my family. I loved him like a son."

She hopes that people will remember Rachel for her selflessness and caring. Rachel had been working at a non-profit organization where she was a MediCal navigator that helped homeless people and Spanish speakers. 

"I think it's really important to remember my daughter's life and celebrate her life," she said. "She was a beautiful girl."

The children are now with Castillo's family. 

Simi Valley police received assistance from the FBI and several other local agencies. 

"Our detectives immediately took on this case because they recognized that something bad had happened," said Simi Valley PD Commander Craig Dungan. "Our detectives worked multiple days in a row without sleep on this."

Castillo's church family met Sunday evening to pray for her safe return, not knowing she'd already been found dead. 

Authorities did not provide further information due to the ongoing nature of the investigation. 

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