2018-09-10 / Front Page

Sheriff: ‘Most horrific crime scene’

Multiple weapons used in killing
By Eric Levine
810-452-2689 • elevine@mihomepaper.com


Handcuffed and shackled, murder suspects Leobardo Torres-Castillo (front) and Francisca Vargas-Castillo (back) are escorted from the Sanilac County Jail to the county courthouse for arraignment Monday afternoon. Leobarbo is flanked by Spanish interpreter Jose Garcia (left) and Deputy Jim Leen. Escorting Francisca are (left to right) Spanish interpreter Aaron Seifferlein, Sgt. Shelly Park and Lt. John Moody (far right). Photo by Eric Levine Handcuffed and shackled, murder suspects Leobardo Torres-Castillo (front) and Francisca Vargas-Castillo (back) are escorted from the Sanilac County Jail to the county courthouse for arraignment Monday afternoon. Leobarbo is flanked by Spanish interpreter Jose Garcia (left) and Deputy Jim Leen. Escorting Francisca are (left to right) Spanish interpreter Aaron Seifferlein, Sgt. Shelly Park and Lt. John Moody (far right). Photo by Eric Levine SANDUSKY — Two suspects are charged with open murder in what Sanilac County Sheriff Garry Biniecki is calling “the most horrific crime scene” in his 42-years in law enforcement.

The sheriff was referring to the killing of Bricia Flores-Rivera, 42, of Flynn Township, whose body was recovered from a ditch in Buel Township, approximately 20 miles from the crime scene in the 3900 block of Aitken Rd., Flynn Township, said the sheriff.


Francisca Vargas-Castillo Francisca Vargas-Castillo The suspects, Leobardo Torres-Castillo, 21, and Francisca Vargas-Castillo, 33, both of Flynn Township were arraigned Sept. 3 in Sanilac County District Court before Magistrate Myla Ford.

The suspects, who are believed to be siblings, are charged with homicide-open murder, which carries a sentence of life behind bars, and concealing the death of an individual, a five-year or $5,000 felony or both.

The magistrate set bond at $1 million cash for each defendant. A probable cause conference is scheduled for Sept. 11 at 10 a.m. and a preliminary examination Sept. 18 at 1:30 p.m.

Two foreign language interpreters assisted at the arraignments, since the Spanishspeaking suspects spoke little or no English.

The pair were arrested after evidence led sheriff’s deputies, detectives and the Michigan State Police crime lab from the alleged murder scene, a mobile home in the 3900 block of Aitken Road where the victim and the suspects lived, to Lilac Street in Marlette and eventually to the ditch where the body had been dumped, said the sheriff.


Leobardo Torres-Castillo Leobardo Torres-Castillo The investigation unfolded early Saturday morning — Sept. 1 — when the victim’s boyfriend called Sanilac Central Dispatch at approximately 3:50 a.m. to report there was blood at the Aitken Road residence and his girlfriend was missing.

While authorities processed the scenes in Flynn Township and Marlette, and a vehicle involved in the case, foreign language interpreters assisted officers in interviewing people.

The victim’s death was ruled a homicide after an autopsy was performed early Sunday morning.

The sheriff would not comment on the cause of death.

However, he did say, “there were multiple weapons used,” but would not elaborate.

According to the sheriff, five adults, including the victim, two suspects and boyfriend, along with four children lived in the trailer house. He did not say who the fifth adult was.

All the children are under the age of five, and belonged either to the victim or the female suspect.

The victim’s child was removed from the residence by children’s protective services of the state Department of Human Services, while the suspect’s three children were placed into the custody of their father, said the sheriff.

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