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 Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.

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PostSubject: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:02 am


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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:03 am

Search for Jada Justice
June 23, 2009 by: Express

http://www.cayleedaily.com/2009/06/search-for-jada-justice/


HOBART | The mom of a missing 2-year-old Portage girl choked back tears Friday as she pleaded for the public’s help in bringing her daughter home.
“I just know someone knows something. … She brightens up my world. I need her home,” Melissa Swiontek said of her daughter, Jada Justice.
Swiontek and Clarence Justice, Jada’s father, spoke briefly at a news conference at the Hobart Police Department Training Center at Westfield Southlake mall.
Deputy Police Chief Jeff White, who led the news conference, declined to answer any questions after reading from a brief statement seeking help from the public in the case.
White said his department, Gary police and the FBI are working together to investigate the disappearance of Jada Justice from the Glen Park Gas station at the intersection of Louisiana Street and Ridge Road in Gary on Tuesday night.
Engelica Castillo, Jada’s 18-year-old cousin, had been baby-sitting the toddler when she disappeared.
Castillo, who lives in the 3900 block of Missouri Street in Hobart, told police she took Jada with her to the Gary gas station to buy milk. She said she left Jada in the car and when she came out Jada was missing.
“We believe there are individuals who have information important to this investigation who have not yet come forward because they do not feel their information was important; they thought someone else may have reported it or they were not sure it was relevant,” White said.
He asked people to call (800) CALL-FBI if they have seen Jada Justice since Sunday or if they have seen Castillo or her boyfriend, Tim Tkachik, with or without the toddler Sunday through Tuesday.
Castillo drives a 1991 maroon Cadillac Fleetwood, and Tkachik generally drives a 1999 red Chevrolet Tahoe.
“All sightings are extremely important to this investigation,” White said in his statement.
Castillo had been held by the Gary Police Department as a person of interest but was released Thursday and not charged, Gary police Cmdr. Anthony Titus said.
Titus, who joined White at the news conference, said police remain skeptical about details surrounding Jada’s disappearance.
“At this point, it’s still where it was Tuesday night,” Titus said.
Police are not currently pursuing charges against Castillo, Titus said, but he did not rule out the possibility.
He said police have not ruled out any leads or potential suspects or interested parties.
“Everybody’s a suspect until we can say they’re not,” Titus said.
He said blood found at Castillo’s home in Hobart is still included as possible evidence to investigate.
“I don’t think anything has been nipped in the bud,” Titus said.
Jada’s disappearance also has drawn the national attention of “America’s Most Wanted” TV show, White said, earlier on Friday.
A photo and information about Jada Justice is already on the show’s Web site, and her case is being considered for a slot on an upcoming show, White said.
He said FBI agents were canvassing areas Friday morning seeking information on the disappearance.
That canvassing included showing residents photos of Jada, Castillo and Tkachik, he said.Source: The Times here

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:04 am

Police: Baby sitter appeared high during 1st interview
By Deborah Laverty
deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 | Wednesday, June 24, 2009 |

http://www.nwi.com/articles/2009/06/24/news/top/doc0c8f5880d6e7bcc7862575de00829045.txt

GARY | Jada Justice's 18-year-old baby sitter appeared to be under the influence of some sort of substance the night she reported the 2-year-old girl missing, Gary police Cmdr. Anthony Titus said Tuesday.

"We know there was something she was intoxicated with," Titus said, without going into further detail. "I can't say it was cocaine, but there was something. ... It was obvious."

But police will never know for sure because they never tested the baby sitter, Engelica Castillo, Titus said.

He said police feared any tests would have meant stopping the interview, strapping handcuffs on the girl and getting her to consent to be tested. And that could have meant a lack of cooperation in trying to find the toddler, who remained missing Tuesday, one week after the initial report.

Castillo couldn't be reached for comment following multiple attempts Tuesday.

"Our concern was with finding the missing child," Titus said of why police failed to test her for the use of any substances.

Castillo, who initially was held by Gary police as a person of interest, later was released without being charged.

Titus said Castillo also has been interviewed by Hobart police and the FBI.

Castillo, who had been baby-sitting the Portage toddler in Hobart, reported Jada missing on the night of June 16.

She told Gary police she had driven from her Hobart home to the Glen Park Gas station, at the intersection of Louisiana and Ridge Road in Gary, to buy some milk and cigarettes.

Jada, who was left inside the car, was missing when Castillo came out of the grocery store after making her purchases, she reported to police.

Titus said Gary police have sent via computer a nationwide notice of Jada's disappearance to other police agencies.

He said a meeting Monday among local police, Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter, the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office went well but he would not elaborate further.

"We wanted to make sure everybody is on board with the communication. ... We want to make sure that everyone who needs to be involved is involved," Titus said.

Investigators, who on Friday sought information from the public, did receive quite a few leads, he said.

"We're still following any leads, and we're still doing searches," Titus said.

Police are asking anyone who has information about the case to call (800) CALL-FBI.

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:06 am

Around the Clock Search for Missing Indiana Girl, 2
Thursday, June 25, 2009


http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,529042,00.html


Jada Justice
GARY, Ind. — Authorities are working around the clock to find Indiana 2-year-old Jada Justice, who was reported missing two weeks ago.

The girl was last seen June 16, when her 18-year-old cousin Eugelica Castillo left her in the car while she bought a gallon of milk at a gas station store in Gary, Ind., the Post Tribune reported.

Castillo was watching Justice since June 8 while her 27-year-old mother was on a trip, according to the newspaper. She was briefly held as a person if interest, but was released.

Police say, however, she and her 24-year-old boyfriend have not been cooperating with authorities, who wouldn't go into specifics.

"If I was responsible for someone else's child and she had disappeared while in my custody, I would have done everything and anything to help find them," Hobart Deputy Chief Jeff White told the Post Tribune. "Let's just say that has not been the case."

White told the newspaper local police and the FBI are working together to find the girl, but that time is not on their side.

"In all my years in police work, I have never seen these kinds of resources dedicated to anything like (the search) for Jada," Hobart Deputy Chief Jeff White told the Post Tribune. Statistically, a lot of time passing is not good for the victim. But we are hopeful and our goal remains to return Jada to her family."

FBI Special Agent Wendy Osborne said Wednesday that more than 100 calls have been received at a hotline — 1-800-CALL-FBI — set up to receive tips concerning the missing girl. She says several leads have been investigated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click here to read more on this story from the Post Tribune:
http://www.post-trib.com/news/1636313,jadafolo.article

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:06 am

Breaking News: Jada Justice Believed To Be Found
June 25, 2009 by: Express

http://www.cayleedaily.com/2009/06/breaking-news-jada-justice-believed-to-be-found/


HOBART | Investigators believe they have found the slain body of missing 2-year-old Jada Justice in rural LaPorte County and have taken two suspects into custody, Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said Thursday.
“We have reason to believe that we have recovered the body of Jada Justice but we do not know from forensic standpoint,” Carter said. “We feel very comfortable that we do, in fact, have Jada Justice.”
Carter said two people are in custody in relation to the murder investigation into the toddler’s June 16 disappearance. He would not confirm the identities of those in custody, saying it was still an active investigation.
However, other sources with knowledge of the investigation said Thursday that the baby sitter Engelica Castillo and her boyfriend Tim Tkachik were arrested at a rural Porter County residence near Valparaiso Wednesday night in connection with the case.
Carter said charges are expected to filed in the case Friday.
LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan told The Times Thursday that he was aware police were searching an area near U.S. 421 in rural LaPorte County in connection with the Jada Justice case, but he said he could not comment on the matter as it was not his agency’s case.
As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, police and FBI agents had closed off Snyder Road, just north of the toll road and one-half mile west of U.S. 421 near Otis, Ind.
Sullivan said the recovery is a LaPorte County case, but an autopsy on the remains will be performed Friday in Lake County.
Authorities believe Tkachik burned his face when he tried to burn Jada’s dead body, a source close to the investigation said. Mug shots released by authorities clearly show blistered and burn-damaged skin on Tkachik’s face.
The source said Jada did not die of those burns, and authorities believe Jada may have died two weeks ago Saturday — several days before Castillo reported the toddler’s disappearance.
Interviewed near the rural Porter County residence where Castillo and Tkachik were reportedly arrested, Jamie Napier, of Portage, said her estranged boyfriend, Castillo and Tkachik along with three others were arrested during a police raid of the house. She said she was told by FBI agents Thursday that she could come to the house, where her estranged boyfriend lives, and collect belongings for her sons, ages 5 and 7. Napier said she shares custody of her children with the estranged boyfriend.
Napier said she first learned of the raid at the cottage when a neighbor called her Wednesday evening. She said she then drove to the house and saw her estranged boyfriend, Castillo and Tkachik being arrested.
Investigators had been searching the area near the 3900 block of Hobart’s Missouri Street since June 16, when the 18-year-old Castillo reported the little girl missing.
Gary police investigators, who also are involved in the case, have since said that Castillo appeared under the influence of a substance when she spoke to police.
Castillo’s mother, Rita Rincon, denied police criticism that Castillo has been uncooperative with authorities in the investigation.
Rincon said Castillo and Tkachik — both questioned by police — have been out with other volunteers passing out fliers with Jada’s information, trying to find the girl.
“We’ve been doing everything we can,” Rincon said. “That’s all of us.”Source: NWI.com News Here:
http://www.nwi.com/articles/2009/06/25/updates/breaking_news/doc4a43a1384f183585438698.txt

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:08 am

Body of missing girl believed to be found
* Criminal charges to be filed today in connection with the 2-year-old's death.
June 26, 2009
By Jon Seidel, Post-Tribune staff writer


http://www.post-trib.com/news/1640542,jada0626.article

Police believe they've found the remains of 2-year-old Jada Justice in rural LaPorte County, nine days after her cousin reported her missing from a gas station in Gary.

Criminal charges are likely to be filed today against two people being held in connection with the girl's death. Police announced the developments at an evening press conference Thursday at Hobart City Hall while family and friends of the girl sobbed in the audience.


Police investigators set up tents near Otis, Ind., Thursday as they concentrated their search for Jada Justice.
(Jeffrey D. Nicholls/Post-Tribune)


Hobart Police chief Rod Gonzales announces that a body has been found in LaPorte County Thursday afternoon. Gonzales said that the parents of Jada Justice had been notified of the discovery.
(Jeffrey D. Nicholls/Post-Tribune)

"We feel very comfortable that we do, in fact, have Jada Justice," Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said.

However, police won't be certain until a forensic autopsy is performed on the remains. LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan said he transported the body to the Lake County Coroner's office, where the autopsy is scheduled for this morning.

Sullivan said he took the body to Crown Point personally after it was recovered just after noon. Carter wouldn't confirm the location of the discovery, saying only that the body was found in LaPorte County west of U.S. 421.

Hobart Police and FBI officials could be seen driving to and from a crime scene Thursday on Snyder Road in LaPorte County between U.S. 421 and Otis Road. Police blocked access to the road for most of the day.

Hobart police were seen leaving the area at 4:30 p.m., shortly before the press conference.

Carter said the body is believed to be Justice because of the information that led police to it. However, he gave few details about what that information was, the condition of the body, who is in custody and whether further arrests are being planned. The investigation, he said, is still ongoing.

"We are very limited as to what we can say," Carter said.

Engelica Castillo, Justice's 18-year-old cousin, reported her missing June 16. She told police she left Justice in her car while she went to buy a gallon of milk from a gas station on Ridge Road in Gary. When she returned, Castillo told police, Justice was gone.

The investigation into her disappearance

Police started questioning Castillo's story publicly last week. She was watching Justice while Melissa Swiontek, Justice's mother, was away on a trip.

Neither Castillo, nor her live-in boyfriend, 24-year-old Timothy Tkachik, have been cooperative, police said.

According to the Post-Tribune's archives, a Barry Tkachik shot and killed his wife, Michelle Tkachik, and her sister, Jean Dakin, in 2003 before turning the gun on himself. The shooting took place in a home on Division Road, minutes from the site of Thursday's search on Snyder Road. The couple had a 17-year-old son named Tim.

Police circulated a photograph of Justice, Castillo and Tkachik last week. In Tkachik's photograph, he appears to have burns on his face. Carter declined to talk about the injury at Thursday's press conference.

Police searched Castillo's neighborhood and the area near the gas station multiple times as the investigation into Justice's disappearance began. They also searched Castillo's home.

Angie Balboa, a family friend, said after Thursday's press conference "everybody kind of knew" that police were unlikely to find Justice alive. She said Castillo and Tkachik could have saved the family a great deal of grief by telling the truth when Justice first went missing.

"I'm so sorry for Jada Justice," Balboa said.

Upon learning the news, Gary Mayor Rudy Clay said he planned reach out to Justice's family. He said the hearts of the people of Gary were "crying out" for her safe return.

"Our hearts are still crying because of what happened to her," Clay said.Contact Jon Seidel at 648-3068 or jseidel@post-trib.com. Comment on this story at www.post-trib.com. Stephanie Dowell/Post-Tribune

Investigators converge on the site in Otis near Westville where they conducted a search for missing toddler Jada Justice on Thursday.Jeffrey D. Nicholls/Post-Tribune

Investigators work at the scene where the body was found in Otis on Thursday.

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:18 am

Investigators believe they have found body of missing toddler
By Times Staff | Thursday, June 25, 2009

http://www.nwi.com/articles/2009/06/25/updates/breaking_news/doc4a43a1384f183585438698.txt


GREGG GEARHART | THE TIMES LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan told The Times Thursday that he was aware police were searching an area near U.S. 421 in rural LaPorte County in connection with the Jada Justice case, but he said he could not comment on the matter as it was not his agency's case. As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, police and FBI agents had closed off Snyder Road, just north of the toll road and a couple hundred yards west of U.S. 421 near Otis, Ind.


PHOTO ILLUSTRATION Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said Thursday that two people are in custody in connection with a murder investigation into the June 16 disappearance of Jada Justice. He would not confirm the identities of those in custody, saying it was still an active investigation. However, other sources with knowledge of the investigation said Thursday that Jada's baby sitter Engelica Castillo and her boyfriend Tim Tkachik were arrested at a rural Porter County residence near Valparaiso Wednesday night in connection with the case. Carter said charges are expected to filed in the case Friday.
NWI Photo Store
HOBART | Investigators believe they have found the slain body of missing 2-year-old Jada Justice in rural LaPorte County and have taken two suspects into custody, Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said Thursday.

"We have reason to believe that we have recovered the body of Jada Justice but we do not know from forensic standpoint," Carter said. "We feel very comfortable that we do, in fact, have Jada Justice."

MORE: Click here for more reports on the Jada Justice case.

Carter said two people are in custody in relation to the murder investigation into the toddler's June 16 disappearance. He would not confirm the identities of those in custody, saying it was still an active investigation.

However, other sources with knowledge of the investigation said Thursday that the baby sitter Engelica Castillo and her boyfriend Tim Tkachik were arrested at a rural Porter County residence near Valparaiso Wednesday night in connection with the case.

Carter said charges are expected to filed in the case Friday.

LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan told The Times Thursday that he was aware police were searching an area near U.S. 421 in rural LaPorte County in connection with the Jada Justice case, but he said he could not comment on the matter as it was not his agency's case.

As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, police and FBI agents had closed off Snyder Road, just north of the toll road and a couple hundred yards west of U.S. 421 near Otis, Ind.

Sullivan said the recovery is a LaPorte County case, but an autopsy on the remains will be performed Friday in Lake County.

Authorities believe Tkachik burned his face when he tried to burn Jada's dead body, a source close to the investigation said. Mug shots released by authorities clearly show blistered and burn-damaged skin on Tkachik's face.

The source said Jada did not die of those burns, and authorities believe Jada may have died two weeks ago Saturday -- several days before Castillo reported the toddler's disappearance.

Interviewed near the rural Porter County residence where Castillo and Tkachik were reportedly arrested, Jamie Napier, of Portage, said her estranged boyfriend, Castillo and Tkachik along with three others were arrested during a police raid of the house. She said she was told by FBI agents Thursday that she could come to the house, where her estranged boyfriend lives, and collect belongings for her sons, ages 5 and 7. Napier said she shares custody of her children with the estranged boyfriend.

Napier said she first learned of the raid at the cottage when a neighbor called her Wednesday evening. She said she then drove to the house and saw her estranged boyfriend, Castillo and Tkachik being arrested.

Investigators had been searching the area near the 3900 block of Hobart's Missouri Street since June 16, when the 18-year-old Castillo reported the little girl missing.

Gary police investigators, who also are involved in the case, have since said that Castillo appeared under the influence of a substance when she spoke to police.

Castillo's mother, Rita Rincon, denied police criticism that Castillo has been uncooperative with authorities in the investigation.

Rincon said Castillo and Tkachik -- both questioned by police -- have been out with other volunteers passing out fliers with Jada's information, trying to find the girl.

"We've been doing everything we can," Rincon said. "That's all of us."

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:18 am

We Believe We've Recovered Jada's Body: Police
2-year-old missing since June 16
By ZACH CHRISTMAN AND NWI TIMES EDITORS
Updated 5:38 PM CDT, Thu, Jun 25, 2009

http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Jada-Justice-Police-Update-Missing-Portage-Indiana-2-Year-Old.html

Jada Justice -- who is almost 3 years old -- has been missing since June 16.

A child's body recovered in western LaPorte County is believed to be that of missing 2-year-old Jada Justice, police said Thursday evening.
Watch Video
Police in Northwest Indiana believe they've found the body of Jada Justice, a 2-year-old who's been missing since June 16.
Watch Video:

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com/video.


A toddler left alone in a car at a Gary, Ind., gas station disappears. The FBI has joined the hunt to find her.
While the coroner has not yet confirmed whether the body is Jada's, sources told the NWI Times that it is hers.
"We feel very comfortable that we do in fact have Jada Justice," an officer said at a Thursday evening news conference, but he went on to clarify that the coroner has not been able to confirm if the body is hers.
The body was found just off U.S. 421 and Snyder Road, near Otis, Ind. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday around 8 a.m.
Police said the investigation has shifted from a missing persons to a murder investigation. They expect to file charges against two people in custody soon.
Jada Justice disappeared June 16, when she was reported missing by her babysitter and cousin, Engelica Castillo. Police said Castillo, 18, seemed to be under the influence of some substance when she talked with police. Police have also said Castillo and her boyfriend have not been cooperative in the investigation.
The FBI has been involved in the investigation, but on Thursday was referring all requests for information to the Lake County, Ind., prosecutor's office.

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:19 am

Source: Jada likely dead 3 days before reported missing
By Christine Kraly
christine.kraly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5335 | Friday, June 26, 2009

http://nwi.com/articles/2009/06/26/news/top/docd6cdf7a3632f9d20862575e1000c00de.txt


PHOTO ILLUSTRATION Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said Thursday that two people are in custody in connection with a murder investigation into the June 16 disappearance of Jada Justice. He would not confirm the identities of those in custody, saying it was still an active investigation. However, other sources with knowledge of the investigation said Thursday that Jada's baby sitter Engelica Castillo and her boyfriend Tim Tkachik were arrested at a rural Porter County residence near Valparaiso Wednesday night in connection with the case. Carter said charges are expected to filed in the case Friday.

HOBART | Authorities believe 2-year-old Jada Justice likely had been killed and encased in concrete in shallow water for three days in LaPorte County by the time she was falsely reported missing.

Investigators believe they discovered the remains of the missing Portage toddler Thursday near rural Otis, Ind. The remains have not been positively identified as those of Jada, but an autopsy is scheduled for today in Lake County.

"We feel very comfortable that we do, in fact, have Jada Justice," Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said Thursday. He did not elaborate, calling it an active murder investigation.

Charges are expected to be filed today against Jada's 18-year-old baby-sitter, Engelica Castillo, and Castillo's boyfriend, Tim Tkachik, sources with knowledge of the case said.

Sources familiar with the case said Castillo and Tkachik were arrested Wednesday night at a rural Porter County residence near Valparaiso and were being held Thursday evening in Lake County.

LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan said his office was called about noon Thursday to an area a couple of hundred yards west of U.S. 421 along Snyder Road just north of the Indiana Toll Road, near Otis.

Officials there found remains that later were transported to Lake County.

The discovery is a grim end to an intense search that reached into its second week and drew countless volunteers who distributed thousands of fliers bearing photos of the missing girl.

Jada's mother, Melissa Swiontek, has said she dropped her daughter off with Castillo on June 8, having planned to travel out of town. Swiontek said she last spoke to her daughter June 12.

The next day, Jada -- placed in a plastic bin in which concrete was poured -- was dumped into a shallow waterway near the small LaPorte County town, according to a source close to the case.

Three days later, on June 16, Castillo reported Jada missing from the Glen Park Gas station in Gary. Soon, the FBI joined the investigation with Gary and Hobart police departments.

Police have cast doubt on Castillo's account of the toddler's disappearance since initial interviews began and as the hunt for Jada gained national attention.

Jada's possible abduction was publicized by CNN, "America's Most Wanted" and through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children database.

Castillo reportedly had been baby-sitting Jada in her home in the 3900 block of Hobart's Missouri Street the day she reported the girl missing. She told police she left Jada in her unlocked Cadillac about 9:30 p.m. June 16 outside the gas station.

After Castillo went inside to buy milk and cigarettes, she returned to find Jada missing, she said.

Gary police initially held Castillo as a person of interest but later released her without charges.

For more than a week, investigators had concentrated on the wooded areas near Castillo's Missouri Street home. Authorities said Wednesday they had expanded their search but declined to disclose details of the new areas.

It was unclear Thursday if they were still awaiting test results from materials that have been pulled from the home.

Gary police investigators, who also were involved in the case, have since said that Castillo appeared under the influence of a substance when she spoke to police.

Authorities had criticized that Castillo and Tkachik had been uncooperative with the investigation into the girl's disappearance.

A week ago, Hobart police released photos of Castillo and Tkachik to the public in an attempt to elicit tips on the case. Tkachik appeared to have fresh burns to his face, which police have said he had not explained.

A source close to the case said Thursday that the burns were the result of a failed attempt to burn Jada in disposing of her body.

Investigators from the FBI and Hobart police stressed Thursday that no one has been charged in the case and that is an active investigation.

Prior to authorities announcing the possible recovery of Jada's body, Castillo's mother, Rita Rincon, defended her daughter, saying information about Castillo has been misunderstood or misconstrued.

Rincon denied criticism that Castillo had been uncooperative and said Castillo and Tkachik had been out with other volunteers passing out fliers.

Watch footage from Thursday's news conference
http://nwi.com/articles/2009/06/26/news/top/docd6cdf7a3632f9d20862575e1000c00de.txt

View locations in the search for 2-year-old Jada Justice
http://nwi.com/articles/2009/06/26/news/top/docd6cdf7a3632f9d20862575e1000c00de.txt

View Jada Justice is missing in a larger map
http://nwi.com/articles/2009/06/26/news/top/docd6cdf7a3632f9d20862575e1000c00de.txt

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:20 am

June 26, 2009 10:20 AM
Body Of Jada Justice Found, Prosecutor Certain
Posted by Edecio Martinez


http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/05/18/crimesider/entry5022355.shtml


(AP Photo/FBI)
2-Year-Old Jada Justice

HOBART, Ind. (AP) A prosecutor says a body found in rural northern Indiana is believed to be that of a 2-year-old Portage girl who vanished more than a week ago.

Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said he's quite certain that the body found Thursday afternoon in rural LaPorte County near the town of Otis, Ind., is that of Jada Justice.

But he said a formal identification still needs to be done. An autopsy is scheduled to be performed Friday on the body.

Justice was apparently abducted from a car June 16 while her 18-year-old cousin who was baby sitting her went into a convenience store in Gary.

Carter said two people are in custody in connection with the toddler's June 16 disappearance.

He said that charges are expected to filed Friday in the case.

Press Conference Courtesy Of WISH-TV 8 Indianapolis

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:21 am

Baby Sitter, Boyfriend Charged With Murdering 2-Year-Old Indiana Girl
Friday, June 26, 2009
FBI


http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,529220,00.html?test=latestnews

A baby sitter and her boyfriend were arrested Friday and charged with the murder of a 2-year-old girl, whose body was found this week in northwest Indiana — more than a week after she disappeared.

Engelica Castillo, 18, one of the suspects in young Jada Justice's death, was the person who reported the girl missing June 16. Jada was found Thursday in rural LaPorte County, but authorities did not release a cause of death.

Castillo and 24-year-old Tim Tkachick, both of Hobart, Ind., were being held without bond Friday in the Lake County Jail on charges of murder, neglect of a dependent, battery and false informing.

Castillo, Jada's cousing who was babysitting at the time, had claimed that the child had been abducted from a car while the teenager went into a convenience store in Gary, but police and family cast doubt on that story.

Neither has been cooperative with the authorities, police told the Post-Tribune.

Click here for more from the Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana.
http://www.post-trib.com/news/1640542,jada0626.article

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:21 am

Prosecutor: Drug-using baby sitter beat Jada to death
By Christine Kraly
christine.kraly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5335 | Friday, June 26, 2009


http://www.thetimesonline.com/articles/2009/06/26/updates/breaking_news/doc4a452d88851ca193114268.txt


Engelica Castillo, 18, left, and her boyfriend, 24-year-old Tim Tkachik , both of Hobart, were charged Friday with murdering 2-year-old Jada Justice.

CROWN POINT | Jada Justice's 18-year-old baby sitter and the young woman's boyfriend took drugs and schemed a desperate cover story after killing her and trying to get rid of her body, prosecutors allege.

Engelica Castillo, 18, and her boyfriend, 24-year-old Timothy Tkachik , both of Hobart, were charged Friday with murdering the 2-year-old Portage toddler. They also were charged with two counts of neglect of a dependent, battery and false informing.

"This tragic ending is not the outcome we were all hoping for," prosecutor Bernard Carter said Friday in a statement. "The relentless efforts by all involved shows that Northwest Indiana has a big heart."

Prosecutors accuse the two of abusing heroin and marijuana in the hours leading up to the girl's death, only to try more than once to dispose of her body and concoct a story about her disappearance.

In his testimony to police, Tkachik blamed the girl's death on Castillo, saying the girl died hours after Castillo beat her in the head with her knuckles and after the girl struck her head against a table.

Tkachik said Castillo spanked Jada in an attempt to potty train the girl, but that it escalated June 13 into harsher beating that he claimed to have tried to stop Castillo.

That night, the couple realized Jada wasn't breathing in a car seat in the back of Tkachik's car, on the way to Porter County to buy heroin, Tkachik told investigators.

The two stopped the car, tried administering CPR to the girl, but realized she was dead, court documents state.

"I told you to stop," Tkachik told investigators he told Castillo. "I told you enough is enough."

They returned to Hobart where they left Jada covered in the back seat of Tkachik's car for hours while driving Castillo's car back to Porter County, then to Chicago, and back to Hobart, records state. Back in Hobart, Tkachik placed Jada -- covered in bumps and bruises -- in garbage bags in the home's basement before he and Castillo went to sleep, court records state.

The next day, in the couple's attempt to burn Jada's body in a hole in the ground in rural Westville, Tkachik badly burned himself trying to ignite the fire, he told police. The couple drove back to Hobart, leaving Jada's body exposed in the burned-out hole, he said.

The next day, after purchasing materials from a Merrillville hardware store, the couple drove back to Westville where Tkachik placed Jada into a blue plastic tub, poured concrete in and waited for it to harden, records state. After it had dried, he chipped away the tub, dropping her concrete-encased body into a nearby swamp, records state.

He later directed police to the spot, records state.

A Lake County coroner's spokesman said Friday that Jada's death was a homicide by blunt force trauma. Numerous skull fractures were revealed during the girl's autopsy, charging documents state.

She was positively identified Friday by a family member by a photograph, LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan said. Sullivan said he wanted to spare the family from seeing Jada's body in person.

Sullivan said he could not determine when the girl had died, based on the autopsy.

Castillo's lawyer, T. Edward Page, said Castillo planned to plead not guilty to the charges.

"We believe that once all of the evidence is presented to a fair and impartial jury at trial, she will be cleared of responsibility for her cousin's death," Page said. "She is distraught over her cousin's death and distraught that she has been accused of it."

It was unclear Friday if Tkachik has retained a lawyer.

Both Castillo and Tkachik each could face up to 65 years in prison if convicted. Castillo and Tkachik both are being held in Lake County Jail without bond.

They are expected to appear in court Monday.

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:22 am

Police say Jada Justice’s babysitter and boyfriend found at drug house
June 27, 3:36 AM

http://www.examiner.com/x-1168-Crime-Examiner~y2009m6d27-Police-say-Jada-Justices-babysitter-and-boyfriend-found-at-drug-house

According to the Porter County Drug Task Force, the home in which Engelica Castillo and her boyfriend Tim Tkachik were found when taken into custody Wednesday, was a known drug house where heroin was sold. Two renters of the home were also arrested.
Castillo is Jada Justice's cousin, and was babysitting the 2-year-old when she went missing. She falsely claimed that on June 16 she left Jada in her unlocked car at 9:40 p.m. while she ran into a gas station convenience store.
Castillo said when she returned to the car a few minutes later, Jada was gone.
Thursday, a body was found in Otis, Indiana believed to be that of Jada.
Neighbors reported drug deals at the house about a month and a half ago. Task Force Coordinator Robert Taylor, told NWI.com the task force arranged two undercover heroin buys in the past few weeks.
Jada’s mother, Melissa Swiontek, had left the little girl at with Castillo, when she went left for a trip on June 8.
Susan Yamashita and Chris Osborne rented the home and were involved in the drug operation. They were obtaining heroin from Tkachik.

The cousin of Jada Justice, Engelica Castillo, and her boyfriend Tim Tkachik, have been arrested and charged with the 2-year-old's murder.
Osborne was arrested and faces federal drug charges. Yamashita faces the same charges, but was not at home when authorities arrived on Wednesday night.
Castillo and Tkachik were also taken into custody Wednesday, and on Friday were charged with Jada’s murder. The couple was also charged with false informing, two counts of neglect of a dependent, and battery.

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:22 am

The horrific murder of Jada Justice
June 27, 2009
BY JON SEIDEL Post-Tribune

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/1642262,CST-NWS-jada27.article#

The gruesome details of Jada Justice's death were revealed Friday when prosecutors charged the 2-year-old girl's cousin and her boyfriend with murder.

Engelica Castillo, 18, and her live-in boyfriend, Tim Tkachik, 23, of Hobart, also are charged with two counts of neglect of a dependent, battery and false informing. Both were being held without bond in the Lake County, Ind., jail.

Jada's mother, Melissa Swiontek, said Friday that she never thought Castillo or Tkachik would harm her daughter. Prosecutors said Jada's body was burned, encased in concrete and left in a LaPorte County swamp. "They should have the same fate she had, if you ask me," Swiontek said.

T. Edward Page, Castillo's attorney, said his client is devastated by her cousin's death and distraught because she's charged with killing her.

Police said Jada was already dead when Castillo, her baby-sitter, reported her missing June 16.

In an interview with police the next day, an officer accused Castillo of lying and held up a picture of Jada. Castillo became angry and tried to hit the officer, according to reports. "God is taking care of her," Castillo told police. "God is watching over her."

Tkachik went to a Portage hospital to be treated for burns on June 18, claiming he suffered the injuries when a propane tank blew up, police said.

Tkachik eventually led police to Jada's body Thursday, according to court documents. Tkachik told police that Castillo spanked and beat Jada repeatedly on June 13, causing the girl to hit her head on a table, according to court documents. At one point, Tkachik told police, he tried to stop Castillo, but when he couldn't, he went to another room to watch TV. That night, while they were on their way to buy heroin, the couple realized that Jada was dead.

Police said the couple returned to their home and put Jada's body into garbage bags. The next morning, they allegedly tried to burn the body. When that didn't work, the documents say, Tkachik dumped Jada's body in a tub and poured concrete over it. The couple drove to a swamp in LaPorte, where they dumped the concrete slab, the documents said. Then they returned home, took some heroin, and decided to report Justice's abduction the next day.

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:23 am

Babysitters boyfriend led police to Jada Justices body, gave details of her death, part 1
June 28, 2:49 AM

Engelica Castillo, 18, and her boyfriend, Tim Tkachik, 23, were arrested and charged with the death of 2-year-old Jada Justice. On Friday, court documents revealed what Tkachick alleged happened to the little girl and what eventually led to her death.

Castillo is Jada’s cousin and was babysitting the little girl while her mother, Melissa Swiontek, was out of town.

According to T. Edward Page, Castillo’s attorney, “A plea of not guilty will be entered on Engelica’s behalf at the first opportunity… and we believe that once all of the evidence is presented to a fair and impartial jury at trial, she will be cleared of responsibility for Jada’s death.”

Castillo told police that on June 16, she and Tkachik spent the day paying bills and then returned home to make dinner. She said after dinner the couple smoked marijuana, while Jada played on the floor.

Castillo said she realized they needed cigarettes, milk, and bottled water. She drove with Jada to the local gas station convenience store and left Jada in the backseat of her unlocked car when she ran inside at about 9:40 p.m. Castillo claimed when she returned to the car, Jada was gone.

The next day, during an interview with police, Castillo became angry and attempted to strike an officer. She told police, “God is taking care of her [Jada]. God is watching over her.”

Police believe Jada actually died June 13.

Eventually, Tkachik told police a story that differed from Castillo's and, on Thursday, led them to Jada’s body.

According to Tkachik, he drove Castillo to pick Jada up on June 8. In an affidavit, police wrote, “Everything was normal for several days.”

On June 12, the couple snorted several lines of heroin. This was the last day Swiontek spoke to her toddler daughter, and said Jada seemed happy.

Tkachik claimed the next morning he found Castillo pulling Jada’s hair and spanking her. The little girl was not crying so Castillo hit her even harder.

According to police, Castillo struck Jada and the 2-year-old fell and hit her head against a table. Castillo then made the toddler stand still in a corner, but when Jada began to act up, she started hitting the girl in the head with closed fists.

http://www.examiner.com/x-1168-Crime-Examiner~y2009m6d28-Babysitters-boyfriend-led-police-to-Jada-Justices-body-gives-details-of-her-death-part-1


Babysitters boyfriend led police to Jada Justices body, gave details of her death, part 2
June 28, 2:59 AM

Tkachik alleged he tried to stop Castillo, but couldn’t, so he went into another room to watch television.

Later that evening, Tkachik said while on their way to purchase heroin in Porter County, they noticed Jada was not breathing. He tried giving the girl CPR, while Castillo screamed and cried.

He claimed he realized Jada was dead and told Castillo, “I told you to stop. I told you enough is enough.”

They returned home and once again attempted CPR on Jada as they thought she was breathing. The couple noticed the girl had bruises on her face and, according to police, put her in three garbage bags and left her body in the basement. Tkachik and Castillo then retired to bed.

The next morning they decided they would dispose of the body by burning it. Tkachik purchased a metal garbage can at a home-supply store and charcoal, lighter fluid, and gas at a gas station, all while Jada’s body was in the trunk.

The couple drove to a wooded area off U.S. 421 in LaPorte County and poured gas and lighter fluid into a hole they found.

Tkachik placed the charcoal and Jada’s body, still in garbage bags, into the hole. As he lit a piece of charcoal and dropped it in the hole, an explosion resulted. Tkachik was badly burned, but Jada’s body remained intact.
The couple left the area, but returned the next day to retrieve the body. They then bought four bags of concrete and a large blue plastic bin at another home-supply store. Tkachik place a bag of concrete in the bin, then put Jada’s body inside, and proceeded to dump the rest of the concrete over her.

He poured water into the plastic bin and dried it with a space heater. The couple then drove with the bin to a swampy area in LaPorte County. Tkachik used a saw to cut the plastic bin from around the concrete to remove any fingerprints present. He then pushed the concrete into the swamp where it sank.

Castillo and Tkachik returned home, used some heroin, and concocted the gas station story to tell police.

According to police, Tkachik’s father killed his sister-in-law, his wife, and himself, just minutes from the location where Jada’s body was dumped.

The autopsy conducted on Jada’s body Friday revealed she had multiple skull fractures.

The couple is charged with murder, neglect of a dependent, false informing, and battery. If convicted, they face 65 years in prison.

http://www.examiner.com/x-1168-Crime-Examiner~y2009m6d28-Babysitters-boyfriend-led-police-to-Jada-Justices-body-gave-them-details-of-her-death-part-2

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:23 am

Trial date set for woman charged with Jada Justice murder
July 14, 11:18 PM
A trial date has been set for Engelica Castillo, the woman charged with murdering 2-year-old Jada Justice.


Engelica Castillo

Castillo, also Jada’s cousin, was babysitting the little girl, along with her boyfriend, while Jada’s mother was out of town. Initially, Castillo told authorities Jada was kidnapped from a gas station convenience store parking lot, after she left the girl alone in the car and went into the store.

Castillo’s boyfriend, Tim Tkachik, also charged with Jada’s murder, told police a different story, saying Castillo had killed Jada with several blows to the head. Tkachik eventually told police the couple had attempted to dispose of the body in a rural area and led them to Jada’s remains.

Castillo agreed to provide a DNA sample to compare to evidence in the case.

Her trial is scheduled to begin on Dec. 7.

http://www.examiner.com/x-1168-Crime-Examiner~y2009m7d14-Trial-date-set-for-woman-charged-with-Jada-Justice-murder?cid=examiner-email

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:24 am

Dad of murdered 2-year-old Jada Justice seeks custody of her brothers
July 14, 8:48 PM

Clarence Justice, father of 2-year-old Jada Justice, is asking a judge to give him custody of his 2 sons who are now in the custody of Melissa Swiontek, Jada’s mother.


Jada Justice

Jada was killed by Engelica Castillo and her boyfriend Tim Tkachik, when her mother, Melissa Swiontek left Jada in their care while she took a trip out of town.

Castillo, who is also Jada’s cousin, is charged with the little girl’s murder and for neglect of a dependent. According to Tkachik, Castillo hit Jada in the head repeatedly, and shortly thereafter she was unable to breath and died. The couple then tried to dispose of the body.

Tkachik has also been charged with murder. Both may face the death penalty for killing Jada.

Despite Tkachik’s account of what happened to the girl, and an autopsy revealing Jada suffered skull fractures, Castillo claims she is innocent of the charges.

Justice said he and his wife can provide a safe home for his 2 sons, ages 1 and 6. Although he was never married to Swiontek, he said he took care of Jada and her brothers and spent time with them on alternate weekends.

“I just feel my boys are safer in my arms than with anybody else. I’m working steady, they have a stay-at-home stepmom to look after them.”

An emergency hearing on the matter is scheduled for Wednesday in Porter County Juvenile Court.


http://www.examiner.com/x-1168-Crime-Examiner~y2009m7d14-Dad-of-murdered-2yearold-Jada-Justice-seeks-custody-of-her-brothers?cid=examiner-email

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:24 am

Father of Jada Justice gets temporary custody of her brothers
July 16, 4:25 PM

On Wednesday, the father of slain 2-year-old Jada Justice was awarded custody of the two sons he had with her mother, Melissa Swiontek.

Swiontek’s cousin, Engelica Castillo, is charged with the murder of Jada. Castillo is accused of murdering the little girl and then she and her boyfriend, Tim Tkachik, attempted to dispose of the body. Tkachik is also charged with murder.

Swiontek had left Jada in her cousin’s care when she took a trip out of town. After Wednesday’s hearing, she said that Jada’s father, Clarence Justice, would only have custody of the boys for the summer pending another court hearing and that she retains partial custody.

She noted that the separation will be hard on her sons, ages 6 and 1, who have already suffered from the loss of their sister. “They’re doing better than I expected. We talk abut Jada and try to do fun things, like look at her pictures. We still go out and try to do family things.”

http://www.examiner.com/x-1168-Crime-Examiner~y2009m7d16-Father-of-Jada-Justice-gets-temporary-custody-of-her-brothers?cid=examiner-email

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:25 am

Tim Tkachik pleads not guilty in Jada Justice murder
July 17, 8:09 PM


Booking photo of Tim Tkachik.

Tim Tkachik is one of two people charged with the murder of 2-year-old Jada Justice. He and his girlfriend, also Jada’s cousin, Engelica Castillo, are accused of beating the girl to death. Castillo was babysitting the toddler, while her mother was out of town.

On Friday, Tkachik entered a plea of not guilty in the case.

The couple attempted to dispose of Jada’s body after the little girl stopped breathing. Tkachik eventually led police to the swamp in LaPorte County where the body was hidden.

An attorney for Tkachik has filed a motion to sever his case from Castillo’s, but a ruling has yet been to be made on the request.

http://www.examiner.com/x-1168-Crime-Examiner~y2009m7d17-Tim-Tkachik-pleads-not-guilty-in-Jada-Justice-murder?cid=examiner-email

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:26 am

Tim Tkachik ordered to give DNA sample in Jada Justice murder
July 18, 3:32 PM



Engelica Castillo and Tim Tkachik

During Friday’s hearing, accused killer of 2-year-old Jada Justice, Tim Tkachik, Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. ordered that he provide a DNA sample. He also granted a defense request to be provided copies of audio statements Tkachik made to police in the case.

Tkachik appeared in court with a swollen right eye, which prompted the judge to ask him what happened to it, who told the judge he had an eye infection. This is not the first time Tkachik appeared in court with a physical impairment, and appeared in court with a bruise on his left cheek and his head bandaged.

According to reports, while Tkachik was in a holding cell he jumped up on a table and was trying to get into an electrical panel. He was asked to get down and when he didn’t police had to use a stun gun on him.

Tkachik, 24, and his girlfriend Engelica Castillo, 18, were babysitting Jada while her mother, Melissa Swiontek, was away on a trip. Castillo claimed the girl disappeared when she left her alone in an unlocked car, but Tkachik told police otherwise. He said Castillo continued to hit Jada and later she stopped breathing. Tkachik led police to the body on Thursday. Both are charged with Jada’s murder.

Tkachick’s next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 28, and Castillo’s murder trial is scheduled for Dec. 7.

http://www.examiner.com/x-1168-Crime-Examiner~y2009m7d18-Tim-Tkachik-ordered-to-give-DNA-sample-in-Jada-Justice-murder?cid=examiner-email

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:27 am

Jada Justice Murder Suspect Tasered In Court


The northwest Indiana man accused of burning 2-year-old Jada Justice's dead body and encasing it in concrete was shot with a Taser before court on Monday morning.

Mike Higgins, a spokesman for the Lake County (Ind.) Sheriff's Department, said 23-year-old Timothy Tkachik climbed onto a table and refused to get down when warned by police that he would be stunned.

Higgins said he couldn't explain what Tkachik was trying to do.

"You'll have to ask him that," Higgins said.

Tkachik and 18-year-old Engelica Castillo, both of Hobart, who were charged with Justice's murder on Friday, were taken to court for an initial hearing. Castillo, who last week hired attorney T. Edward Page to represent her, asked for a public defender.

"(Castillo) is in need of some resources that I cannot provide for such things as depositions and other pre-trial investigations," Page said after the hearing. "We knew this when I was assisting her after her arrest last Thursday."

Lake County public defender Lemuel Stigler entered an appearance on Castillo's behalf later in the day. Stigler, who said he hadn't spoken to his new client yet, said she will deny the charges at her next hearing.

"She will plead not guilty," Stigler said.

So far, no attorney has filed an appearance on behalf of Tkachik, Castillo's boyfriend.

The couple had been babysitting Justice, of Portage, for several days before Castillo began hitting the girl repeatedly, police said. Later, when Castillo and Tkachik were driving to buy drugs with Justice in the car, police said the couple realized the girl wasn't breathing.

Her body was discovered in a LaPorte County swamp after police said they were led to the location by Tkachik.

In addition to murder charges, Castillo and Tkachik are charged with two counts of neglect of a dependent, battery and false informing. They face 65 years in prison.

Bill Baker, of Hebron, who owns the Hobart house at 3925 Missouri St. where Justice was beaten, said Castillo and Tkachik paid their rent on time, and he "didn't see any flags go up" until he read about Justice's disappearance.

"I was probably as surprised and disgusted as anyone else," Baker said.

Justice's mother, Melissa Swiontek, left her daughter with Castillo for several days because she was being potty trained, according to court records.

Ann Houseworth, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Child Services, said her office has an open assessment into conditions at Swiontek's Portage home. She wouldn't comment on specifics of the case, though.

Swiontek told the Post-Tribune on Saturday that Child Services visited her home, but there is no ongoing investigation.

Funeral arrangements for Justice will take place at 2 p.m. Friday at Edmonds and Evans Funeral Home Portage Chapel, 6941 Central Ave. Visitation will start at noon.

Justice will be buried in Heritage Cemetery.

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:29 am

Grisly Details Alleged In Death Of Indiana Toddler
The gruesome, callous and sordid details of Jada Justice's demise were revealed Friday when prosecutors charged the 2-year-old girl's cousin and her boyfriend with her murder.

Engelica Castillo, 18, and her live-in boyfriend, Tim Tkachik, 23, are accused of murder, two counts of neglect of a dependent, battery and false informing. They face 65 years in prison if convicted. Both live in Hobart, Ind. and are being held in the Lake County Jail without bond.

The charges were filed shortly after Justice's uncle confirmed for LaPorte County, Ind., Coroner John Sullivan that the body found Thursday near Otis is hers. Sullivan said Justice's death was a homicide, but he declined to explain the cause of death at prosecutors' request.

T. Edward Page, Castillo's attorney, said his client is devastated by her cousin's death and distraught she's been accused of her murder.

"A plea of not guilty will be entered on Engelica's behalf at the first opportunity," Page said, "and we believe that once all of the evidence is presented to a fair and impartial jury at trial, she will be cleared of responsibility for Jada's death."

Justice's mother, Melissa Swiontek, told the Post-Tribune on Friday that she never thought Castillo or Tkachik would harm her daughter. In court documents, prosecutors said Justice's body was burned and encased in concrete before she was left in a LaPorte County swamp.

"They should have the same fate she had, if you ask me," Swiontek said of Castillo and Tkachik.

When Castillo reported Justice missing June 16, splashing her face across fliers in the region and television screens across the nation, police say she was already dead.

Nonetheless, when police came upon Castillo that day at the Glen Park Gas Station at 1401 E. Ridge Rd. in Gary, they found her crying and screaming on the ground, claiming to be on the phone with her mother.

The story, as Castillo told it, was that she took Justice to the gas station to buy milk. Castillo told police she drove there because she was afraid to drive in Hobart without a driver's license.

Castillo told police she and Tkachik spent June 16 paying bills before returning home, 3925 Missouri St., to make dinner. Justice ate, Castillo said, and afterward the couple smoked marijuana while the girl played on the floor.

Later, she said, she realized they needed milk, cigarettes and bottled water. Tkachik told police they left him at home because he was bothered by burns he suffered lighting a grill on June 14.

Placing Justice in the back seat, Castillo said she drove to the gas station where she saw a black man pumping gas and two other black men near a white Cadillac.

Castillo said she left the car carrying her keys and leaving the car unlocked. When she returned, she told police, she realized the girl wasn't in the car.

Tkachik told police he was called to the gas station by Castillo. When he arrived, he hugged Castillo who told him "Jada's gone."

However, a man approached police at the gas station when Justice was first reported missing. He said he saw Castillo pull up, go into the gas station and return. He said he didn't see anyone around or near Castillo's car, nor did any other vehicles pull up.

Police searched the area, finding no sign of the girl.

In an interview with police the next day, an officer accused Castillo of lying and held up a picture of Justice.

Castillo became angry and tried to hit the officer, according to reports. She had to be restrained for about 30 seconds.

"God is taking care of her," Castillo told police. "God is watching over her."

Tkachik visited Porter hospital's Portage campus June 18, police said, for burn treatment. He said the injuries were caused when a propane grill tank blew up.

Tkachik eventually told officers another story, according to court documents, and he led them to Justice's body on Thursday.

Tkachik said he drove Castillo to pick up Justice for the first time June 8.

"Everything was normal for several days," police wrote in an affidavit.

Castillo spanked Justice several times because she was being potty trained, Tkachik said.

The couple also took several lines of heroin June 12. That was the day Swiontek said she last spoke to her daughter. She said Justice told her she had eaten dinner that day and played with the dog.

"She said, 'Love you,'" and hung up," Swiontek said. "She seemed happy."

The next morning, Tkachik said he found Castillo spanking the girl and pulling her hair. Justice didn't cry, he said, which prompted Castillo to hit her even harder.

Eventually, police said, Castillo hit Justice and the girl fell against a table and hit her head. Castillo then pulled Justice into a corner and made her stand still. When Justice started acting up again, he said, Castillo started rapping the girl's head with her knuckles.

That's when Tkachik told police he realized things had gone too far and tried to stop Castillo.

But when he couldn't stop her from hitting the girl, he said, he went to another room to watch television.

That night, he said, they were on their way to purchase heroin from a man named "Ryan" in Porter County. Once they were on the highway, Tkachik told police, they realized Justice was not breathing. Tkachik tried CPR while Castillo began to scream and cry.

Tkachik realized the girl was dead and told Castillo, "I told you to stop. I told you enough is enough."

They returned home, covered Justice, and then they left her in the car while they drove to see "Ryan" in another vehicle. Then they drove to Chicago.

Police said the couple returned home at about 9:30 p.m., checked on Justice and thought she was breathing. They took her into the house and gave her CPR.

They noticed the bruising on her face, police said, and decided to put her in three garbage bags. The couple then left her body in the basement and went to bed.

Police said Castillo and Tkachik spent most of the next morning trying to figure out how to get rid of the body so they wouldn't get in trouble.

They eventually decided to burn the body. Police said Tkachik drove to a home-supply store in Michigan City, Ind., where he bought a metal garbage can. Then he bought charcoal, lighter fluid and gas at a gas station.

All of this while Justice was in the back of his truck.

Police said he pulled his truck into a wooded area near U.S. 421 in LaPorte County. Police said Castillo dumped gas and lighter fluid into a hole they found.

Tkachik placed charcoal and Justice's body, wrapped in garbage bags, into the hole. Then he lit a piece of the charcoal bag and dropped it into the hole, police said, causing an explosion.

Castillo screamed and Tkachik was badly burned. The garbage bags burned, police said, but the body remained.

Tkachik and Castillo left the girl's body in the hole and drove home.

The next day, documents say, Tkachik retrieved Justice's body, took her to the house in Hobart, and then drove to a home-supply store in Merrillville, Ind.

He bought four bags of concrete and a large blue tub. Police said he returned to his basement, dumped a bag of concrete into the tub, put Justice's body in the tub and then dumped the rest of the concrete over her body.

Tkachik then poured water into the tub and dried it with a space heater, police said.

When it was dry, police said, the couple drove the tub to a swamp in LaPorte County. Police said he used a yellow and black saw to cut the tub from around the concrete. He did so, police said, because he knew fingerprints would have been on it.

Tkachik pushed the concrete into the swamp where it eventually sank below the surface.

The couple returned home, took some heroin, and decided to report Justice's abduction the next day.

Police said it was Tkachik who led them to the body they found Thursday along Snyder Road, west of U.S. 421.

Tkachik's father killed his wife, his sister-in-law and himself in 2003 just minutes from where Justice's body was found.

Sullivan said an autopsy on the body began at 8 a.m. Friday and lasted more than four hours.

It was performed by forensic pathologist John Cavanaugh, he said. She was found to have numerous fractures on her skull.

Swiontek said she has been staying at a friend's house since her daughter's body was found, listening to condolences

"I just never, never, never, never would have thought they'd hurt my baby," Swiontek said.

Elizabeth Justice, Jada Justice's stepmother, said the girl's killers should suffer.

"Whoever else knew about it should suffer, also," Elizabeth Justice said.

A memorial is planned for noon today at Tod Park at Indianapolis Boulevard and Columbus Drive in East Chicago, Ind.

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:30 am

Prosecutor eyes death penalty in Jada case

July 1, 2009

CROWN POINT | Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said Tuesday his office is undertaking a death penalty review against two defendants charged with the murder of 2-year-old Jada Justice.

The prosecutor's office on Friday charged Engelica Castillo, 18, and her boyfriend, Tim Tkachik, 24, both of Hobart, with the murder of the Portage toddler. Tkachik told police Jada died after a June 13 beating administered by Castillo, according to reports. Tkachik helped Castillo dispose of the body in a LaPorte County swamp, authorities said.

Carter said state law permits him to file a capital murder charge in a case where the victim was younger than 12, but he and his top deputies first must survey the evidence to determine if the case merits the ultimate punishment.

"We are still going through a lot of information. A lot of the physical evidence is being examined by our experts. That all has to be assessed before any decision as to a potential death penalty," he said.

Jada's mother, Melissa Swiontek, said Tuesday she supports a death penalty case.

"If that's the court's decision, I'm not going to oppose it," she said.

Swiontek said before her daughter was killed, she used to be against the death penalty. But she has since changed her mind, she said, "when it comes down to your baby."

She said she has no remorse for her cousin or Tkachik, saying "They're not even human ... if they can do that to my Jada.

"My baby's gone. They broke my heart. They have no right to be on this earth, if you ask me."

Lake County Deputy Chief Public Defender David Olson said Tuesday a death penalty charge will affect his office, which will be defending Castillo.

"We are just waiting for the state to decide," Olson said.

He said he would have to request additional tax dollars from the County Council if the prosecutor does go for the death penalty, which usually costs hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional law fees, expert-witness fees and other extraordinary expenses. He said his office will appoint two lawyers to defend Castillo if a capital murder charge is filed.

Olson said, "The question is whether the county can afford it? I don't know. It's very expensive."

Tkachik said Monday he may hire his own lawyer, although court sources said few private lawyers have the resources to undertake a death penalty murder defense.

Olson said a cheaper option for the county would be for the prosecutor to pursue a sentence of life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

Lake and Porter County judges have sentenced more than 23 men and women to death since capital murder was reinstated in 1977, but only one has been executed.

Kevin Charles Isom, 42, is awaiting trial later this fall on capital murder charges he killed his wife and her two children Aug. 6, 2007, at the Lakeshore Dunes Apartments in Gary's Miller section.

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:31 am

:candle:

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PostSubject: Re: Jada Justice (2) R.I.P.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:31 am

:candle:

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