Couple Found Dead at Church Altar Identified

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By Setrige Crawford, Christian Post Reporter
January 12, 2012|8:25 pm

A Texas couple who were found murdered together at a church altar were identified Thursday by police.

Manuel Rodriguez and Zeferina Castillo were found dead inside Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in what police are calling a murder-suicide, according to publication My San Antonio.

Helotes police say the two had been dating, but are unsure how serious the relationship had been.

"For how long and how serious we don't know," said Lt. Anthony Burgess of the Helotes Police Department.

Investigators have determined that Rodriguez, 51, was the shooter, but they are still trying figure out his motivation. Witnesses say the couple walked in the church together, were well dressed and composed, according to Burgess.

Security cameras in the church captured the couple walking towards the main altar and they didn't seem to be agitated, according to the Houston chronicle.

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The last thing the motion-sensitive cameras in the church captured was the two standing still at the altar and at about 3 p.m., shots were heard from the main sanctuary. No one else was at the church during the shooting. When police arrived on the scene, they found the two laying on the altar steps with a pistol between them.

The couple arrived at the church separately and neither were members there. Detectives want to obtain a warrant to search Rodriguez's care for a possible suicide note.

Monsignor Carlos J. Davalos, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, said he didn't know the couple or what troubles they were going through.

“There are so many situations in the relationship of a man and a woman, married or unmarried, that can lead to such conflict,” Davalos said. “We do not know what ever happened between these two individuals. All we know is that we ask God for forgiveness, for pardon of their sins. We pray for them. We offer them to the Lord.”

Castillo, 54, was the owner of the Castillo Mission Funeral Home in San Antonio. She took over the business in 2007, when her husband died. An employee said that Castillo encouraged the staff to serve the families in the community, according to My San Antonio.

"Her direction to us was that utilize our hearts to provide dignified services for our families, and that's all she asked of us," said Art Gandar, manager of the Castillo Mission Funeral Home.

He added that staff at the funeral home was heartbroken by the news.

 

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