San Carlos

‘I Feel Like This Is a Horror Movie': Father Identifies Woman Beheaded in San Carlos

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A woman who authorities said was beheaded by an estranged boyfriend on the street in front of her neighbors in San Carlos has been identified by her father as 27-year-old Karina Castro.

Authorities with knowledge of the investigation told NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit the woman's head was severed with a sword Thursday. The victim's father on Friday told NBC Bay Area she had a restraining order against her suspected killer.

"I feel like this is a horror movie I need to wake up from," said Martin Castro Jr., the woman's father.

Martin Castro Jr. showed up at the scene Friday where a memorial to his daughter stands.

"None of us have eaten. None of us have slept. None of us have drank anything. Nothing," Martin Castro Jr. said. "I can't even feel anything right now, except hurt. I'm empty."

The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office identified the suspect in the slaying as Jose Landaeta Solano, who was arrested Thursday after returning to the scene.

"If they'll give him the death penalty, I'm all for it," Martin Castro Jr. said when asked what he wants to see happen next.

Neighbors on Friday told NBC Bay Area Karina Castro had a volatile relationship with Solano. One neighbor, who said police often responded to the couple fighting, recalled hearing Karina Castro talk about being scared of Solano.

"The night before she was pacing back and forth in front of the house," neighbor Nathaniel Chan said. "And I heard she was talking really loud on the phone and said 'it feels like I've got a target on my back.'"

Castro family
Karina Castro

Investigators believe the incident began with the couple fighting inside her apartment around 10:30 a.m. Thursday. The fight then spilled outside, where authorities said Solano used what sources are describing as a samurai sword to kill her.

Investigators told NBC Bay Area that Solano has an extensive, violent criminal past and a history of mental illness. They also said there is a history of domestic violence calls and other complaints tied to the home.

Meanwhile, Martin Castro Jr. said his family is also focused on getting Karina's children back from Child Protective Services.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Detective Brandt with the sheriff's office at 650-333-8195 or

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