Body of Simi Valley mom found; husband arrested as main suspect

Rachel Castillo
Rachel Castillo, 25, leaves behind two sons, ages 2 and 5.
(Castillo family)

Police on Sunday found the remains of a young mother who vanished from her home in Simi Valley last week, and her husband was arrested as the main suspect.

Detectives found the body of Rachel Castillo, 25, in a remote location in Antelope Valley, the Simi Valley Police Department said.

For the record:

2:33 p.m. Nov. 16, 2022An earlier version of this story, and its headline and sub-headline, referred to Zarbab Ali as Rachel Castillo’s ex-husband. The couple had filed for divorced, but it had not been finalized at the time of Castillo’s death.

Castillo’s husband, 25-year-old Hawthorne resident Zarbab Ali, was arrested at his parent’s home in Victorville in connection with her death, police said in a news release. The couple had filed for divorce, but it had not yet been finalized at the time of Castillo’s death.

“This investigation has rapidly evolved over the past few days,” police said. “This case is still under investigation and some details cannot be released due to legal and investigative reasons.”

Castillo disappeared Thursday, leaving behind her keys, phone, car and “a significant amount of blood,” police said. Worried relatives summoned authorities that evening after her sister discovered the disturbing scene at the apartment they shared on Country Club Drive.


Castillo had been last seen by her sister, Emily, at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the apartment where they lived with Castillo’s two sons, ages 2 and 5.

Her mother, Robyn Castillo, said the boys’ father came to pick them up in the morning and that her daughter was supposed to spend the day working from home at her job as a healthcare navigator for a social services agency. When Emily Castillo returned home around 8:30 p.m Thursday, her sister was gone and there was a large amount of blood inside the home.

On Sunday night, Robyn Castillo posted on her Facebook that her daughter’s body had been found and that a suspect was in custody.

“Please do not post anything about that in the comments,” she wrote. “I prefer to remember the good parts of my daughter and celebrate her beautiful life.”

Castillo was studying for a master’s degree in clinical psychology at Pepperdine University’s online program with plans to become a marriage and family therapist.