Cousin Found Guilty of Killing 2-Year-Old Girl

Engelica Castillo could be sentenced to life in prison without parole

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    Jada Justice

    The cousin of a 2-year-old girl found burned an encased in concrete last year in LaPorte, Ind., was found guilty of murder Thursday.

    Engelica Castillo was convicted of murder, two counts of neglect of a dependent, battery and false informing in connection with the death of 2-year-old Jada Justice.

    The jury took about two hours to convict Castillo, 20, of Hobart, Ind., according to a statement from Lake County Prosecutor Bernard A. Carter’s office.

    The jury recommended life in prison without parole for Castillo.  Formal sentencing will be held on September 9th.

    Castillo told police June 18, 2009, she left Jada in the car at a Gary, Ind., gas station, where she went to get milk. When she came out the girl was gone.

    On June 25, 2009, her then boyfriend, Timothy Tkachik, led investigators to the girl's body in LaPorte.  The body was found burned and encased in concrete.

    Tkachik testified that Castillo became irritated at the little girl for dumping a package of drink mix and spilling a container of syrup, according to the statement. Tkachik said an angry Castillo repeatedly struck the child.

    He admitted to striking the girl several times on the head and holding the toddler down while Castillo repeatedly struck her with a belt, according to the statement. Tkachik said that Jada stopped breathing while in a vehicle with him and Castillo and they failed to get medical help for the child.

    Tkachik, 25, of Hobart, pled guilty to two counts of neglect of a dependent in connection with Jada Justice’s death and faces a maximum term of 50 years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 10.