Zarbab Ali is a California man arrested after his missing wife, Rachel Castillo, was found dead. Ali posted on Facebook pleading for help in finding the mother of his two children before her body was found. Castillo was reported missing in Simi Valley, California, after she was last seen on November 10. Her body was found in the Antelope Valley on November 13 and her estranged husband was arrested, police said in a press release.
Castillo’s sister, Emily Castillo, said the 25-year-old dropped her two children off with their father, Ali, the morning of Thursday, November 10, in Hawthorne and then went back to the home she and her sister share in Simi Valley, according to KABC. When Emily Castillo came home that night she wasn’t able to find Rachel and reported her missing, the news station reports. Emily Castillo said she saw blood when she entered the home and her sister’s keys, car and phone were at the home, KABC reports.
Simi Valley Police said in the November 13 press release, “This afternoon, Detectives located human remains of an adult female in a remote location within the Antelope Valley. The Detectives, along with the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the remains as Rachel Castillo.” Zarbab Ali, a 25-year-old teacher who goes by Bobby, was arrested, police said.
Here’s what you need to know about Zarbab Ali and the death of Rachel Castillo:
1. Zarbab Ali Wrote on Facebook on November 12, ‘If Anyone Knows Anything Please Call the Simi Valley Police’ Along With a Link to a News Story About His Ex-Wife Rachel Castillo’s Disappearance
According to Simi Valley Police, “The primary suspect in this case, is Rachel’s ex-husband, 25-year-old, City of Hawthorne resident, Zarbab Ali. Mr. Ali was arrested, this afternoon at his parent’s home in Victorville, in connection to Rachel’s homicide.” According to Ventura County jail records, Ali was being held on $510,000 bond on probable cause of felony murder.
It was not immediately clear if he has hired an attorney who could comment on his behalf. His family has not spoken out about the arrest. Ali is scheduled to make his first court appearance at 1:30 p.m. in Ventura County Superior Court.
A day before Castillo’s body was found and Ali was arrested, he posted on Facebook asking for friends and family to help in the search for her. He wrote, “If anyone knows anything please call call the Simi Valley Police at (805) 583-6950! She’s been missing since Thursday!” The post included a link to a Los Angeles Times article about Castillo’s disappearance.
The Simi Valley Police added in the press release, “This investigation has rapidly evolved over the past few days. This case is still under investigation and some details cannot be released due to legal and investigative reasons. The Simi Valley Police Department will release additional details related to this case when it is available.”
Castillo’s father, Christopher Castillo, a retired FBI employee, told ABC News, “Here’s a mom who divorced her husband, worked in a domestic violence prevention center and worked with battered moms … and you know, it’s kind of obvious why she probably divorced her husband,” he said. “I mean the guy ended up showing up and murdering you.” The family said the couple had “some difficulties” during their relationship.
Robyn Castillo, Rachel’s mother, told ABC News she had a “very normal” conversation with Ali over the weekend, before her daughter’s body was found. “He had my grandchildren, I had texted him to ask how he was doing,” she said. “He offered to video chat so I could see the boys. I got to see my grandsons and speak to them and he expressed his concern and I just told him we’re doing everything we can … he said he was very sorry and hoped that she was okay. It seemed like a very normal conversation. … I really didn’t expect it to turn out like this.”
2. Police Said There Was a ‘Significant Amount of Blood’ Left at Castillo’s House
The Simi Valley Police said in a press release that Emily Castillo reported her sister missing from their Wood Ranch-area apartment at about 8:30 p.m. on November 10. “Simi Valley Police Officers responded to the apartment and conducted a preliminary investigation,” police said. “Based on evidence at the scene, officers suspected that a crime involving serious injury occurred. Rachel was entered into the Missing Persons System, and the SVPD Detective Bureau responded to the scene and took over the investigation. Detectives have been working continuously since that time to locate Rachel and develop leads in the case.”
In a previous press release, police said “a significant amount of blood was located in her home.” Emily Castillo told KABC, “As soon as I saw the blood, that’s when I realized something wasn’t right. So I called my mom to let her know to come over and then I immediately called 911. … I was running around the house trying to see if I could find her somewhere. I checked her bathroom, under her bed, her closet, my closet, the laundry room, my bathroom and my bedroom but she wasn’t anywhere in there.” Castillo’s father called the scene a “violent abduction,” Fox Los Angeles reported.
Castillo’s mother, Robyn, told the news station, “The most important thing is that she’s a mother. She has two little boys who are going to miss her, and we just want her home.” The Simi Valley Police said on Facebook after Castillo was found dead and Ali was taken into custody, “the children are accounted for and safe.”
3. Zarbab Ali & Rachel Castillo Were Married in 2021 & She Filed for Divorce in March 2022
On Facebook, Zarbab Ali said that he and Rachel Castillo were married on June 23, 2021. It was not immediately clear how long they had been together before their marriage. Ali and Castillo had two children together, sons ages 2 and 5.
According to Ventura County court records, Castillo filed for divorce on March 2, 2022. The divorce remains pending and a hearing had been set for February 2023, records show. The last update in the divorce case had been on November 7. On June 1, 2022, a separate case related to child support was viled. The case was settled on July 7.
Castillo’s mother, Robyn Nalbandian Castillo, wrote on Facebook, “My beautiful daughter is gone. Let’s celebrate her life. … Thank you for all the love. My daughter’s body was found this afternoon. They have a suspect in custody. I know who it is. Please do not post anything about that in the comments. I prefer to remember the good parts of my daughter and celebrate her beautiful life.”
4. Zarbab ‘Bobby’ Ali Studied at UC Santa Cruz & Worked as a Teacher, According to His Facebook Page
Jail records show Ali listed his employment as being a math teacher and said he was born in Pakistan. According to his LinkedIn profile, Ali studied math and earned his master’s degree in education at UC Santa Cruz.
He wrote on LinkedIn, “I believe that every student should receive a high-quality education and have dedicated myself to learning the latest constructivist styles of teaching and the CPM curriculum in order to so. I want to become a role model for these students and show that everyone can succeed academically. I myself was a student-parent and a first-generation college student and as such I understand the struggles that students from low-income families face.”
It was not immediately clear where Ali was working as a teacher or what his current employment status is. On Facebook, Ali said he taught at a charter high school. He studied at UC Santa Cruz from 2015 to 2020, according to his Facebook page.
5. Rachel Castillo Was a Master’s Student at Pepperdine University, Studying Psychology & Worked With Domestic Violence Victims; A GoFundMe Has Been Set Up to Help Her Family
Arielle Williams wrote on a GoFundMe, “Hello, I’ve set this GoFundMe up to help cover the funeral costs for the Castillo family who recently lost Rachel Lynn Castillo, a daughter, sister, mother, and granddaughter, as a result of domestic violence. No family is ever prepared for a situation like this. Rachel was so incredibly loved and adored by many people in the community and those who came into contact with her. She was an amazing mother to her two boys and a beloved non profit worker. She was kind, hardworking, funny, incredibly sweet, smart, and had a bubbly personality.”
Williams added, “She will be incredibly missed but, her family would like to remember the good memories and celebrate her life. Anything you can contribute to cover funeral costs or whatever else is involved in dealing with the repercussions of a situation like this, would greatly be appreciated. 100% of all donations will be directly given to the Castillo family. Any funds that exceed the funeral costs will be put towards taking care of her 2 sons or any other costs that directly involved her and or her family. (Legal fees, housing and food to take care of the children, tuition, clothing, new apartment deposit, basic essentials, etc.”
According to Fox LA, Castillo was studying at Pepperdine University to complete her master’s degree in clinical psychology with a goal of becoming a marriage and family therapist. She was in social work, including working with domestic violence victims, according to her family.