A Lynwood woman was stabbed to death by her teenage son and nephew in an attack the boys told authorities was inspired by the horror movies “Scream” and “Scream 2,” investigators and family friends said Wednesday.
Rita Castillo, 37, was attacked in her apartment in the 3700 block of East Imperial Highway on Tuesday afternoon, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s spokesman said. Mortally wounded, she managed to call 911 and was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Castillo had been concerned about her son associating with his younger cousin, described by relatives and friends as troubled. The youths, 16 and 14, were not identified because they are juveniles.
The 14-year-old’s brother, who is 17, was arrested later Wednesday, sheriff’s deputies said. Investigators believe he helped plan the murder but was not at the apartment when Castillo was killed.
All three boys were booked at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey on suspicion of murder and held without bail.
The two younger boys said they had planned to kill both of the 16-year-old’s parents after seeing the horror movies, authorities said.
“They admitted to homicide investigators that they killed the mother after getting the idea from the movies,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Stoneman, who declined to say if both boys participated in the attack. The boys had planned to buy a Grim Reaper mask and a voice-distorting box similar to those featured in the films, but couldn’t afford them, Stoneman said.
Officials of Dimension Films, the division of Miramax Films that produced the “Scream” movies, issued a brief statement saying they were “saddened by the tragic death of Gina Castillo” and “confident authorities will investigate this matter thoroughly.”
Castillo’s husband was at work, but her 1-year-old daughter was in the apartment when her mother was stabbed, Stoneman said. The child was unhurt, he said.
Friends and neighbors at Castillo’s apartment complex were stunned that her son was accused of committing such a crime.
“He was such a gentle, quiet, very polite boy,” said one neighbor.
A friend of the victim said Castillo had confided two months ago that she was struggling to keep her son away from his cousin, who she said was frequently high on drugs.
“She was a very religious woman, very loving mother,” said the friend, who like Castillo emigrated from Nicaragua.