Middle Georgia Cold Cases: The Shooting on Selma

MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Friends say a 33-year-old Baldwin County man worked hard. He woke up, went to work, and then unwound with an ice cold beer – that was all. Until one night in December 2013 when someone walked up to his front door and killed him.

People don’t live on Selma Drive too long. Not because of anything dangerous – more like it’s a bridge to get from point "A" to point "B." They move on just as quickly as they come. But one December night in 2014, danger did hit this transient neighborhood.

"The homeowner answered the knock at the door and as soon as the door opened, he was met with a single wound to the chest," Captain Brad King with the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office says.

The man shot was Francisco Castillo, a Mexican landscaper who’d lived in the U.S. for 14 years, most of them in Milledgeville. Investigators say he didn’t have problems with anyone.

"He had worked with one of our local businesses for a number or years. He was working with a landscaping crew. The landscaping business thought he was an excellent employee and it was almost a family situation," Sheriff Bill Massee says.

So who could shoot and kill this ‘family’ man?

"We’ve got a case with really no physical evidence, no witnesses, and no communication from the public. It’s been almost a mystery to us," says Massee.

"Cases like this, you go back to police 101. You do your neighborhood canvas, you work your crime scene to gather all your evidence then you rely on your crime lab to tell you as much as they can from that evidence," Capt. King says.

The problem was there was no evidence.

The only clue they had was the shell casing in Castillo’s chest.

"At the time, we weren’t sure if we were dealing with a homicide or a suicide given the position of the body," King says.

No one saw anything. There was no suspect, no car seen speeding off, no signs of forced entry — after a few months there was something that turned up.

"We recovered a shotgun nearby. It was the correct caliber. It has been sent to the crime lab, we have determined that was a stolen firearm. It was a residential burglary here in Baldwin County. It was stolen prior to the murder, but we do not have a confirmation that is actually our murder weapon," King says.

The gun was sent to the crime lab for testing and investigators say even then it’s still a long shot of trying to tie the gun to the murder – not to mention who pulled the trigger.

"Citizens in our community help us and give us leads and help us work our cases .We’ve had no communication with anyone really since this event occurred," Massee says.

The long time sheriff says in all his time in law enforcement, this ins one of only two cold cases on his books and he wants closure for himself before he hangs up the badge.

"You look up and you say somebody’s going to get arrested. Somebody’s going to be put in a jail and during the interview with either us or another law enforcement agency, they may say let me tell you about a murder in Baldwin County," Massee says.

Most of the people who lived on Selma Drive in 2013 don’t anymore.

Do you know what happened to Francisco Castillo? Do you remember hearing or seeing something from that December night on Selma Drive? Call the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office at 478-445-4891.

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(478) 745-4141 ext. 311 Skyler joined the 41 NBC News Team in April 2013. He anchors the news at 6 p.m. and also covers stories going on throughout the day. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a suburb right outside of Atlanta. Before heading to Middle Georgia, Skyler worked as a stage manager for WSB- TV in Atlanta. Skyler graduated from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Multimedia Communication. He went to school initially to be an architect, but one step inside of the student radio station changed everything. While at Georgia Southern, he was exposed to radio and television and became the Program Director of the student radio station and was a part of a team that received a Southeast Regional student Emmy for their work on the program "Inside Georgia Southern Football." Skyler anchored and reported for Georgia Southern University's "Eagle News." There he covered the 2010 midterm elections live as well as reported on stories in the community. In the Spring 2012, Skyler interned for Clear Channel in Los Angeles, California. Skyler is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. In his free time, you can find Skyler watching the latest movies and reading up on all things in Hollywood. He also loves spending time with his family and friends and finding inspirational quotes. He loves telling stories about politics, tax dollars at work in the community, and highlighting people and business who don’t normally get the spotlight. If you have any story ideas, email Skyler at shenry@41nbc.com.