01/29/2014 02:27 pm ET Updated Jan 29, 2014

Carlos Amarillo Allegedly Killed Girlfriend And Her Daughter In Queens, Thinking They Were 'Witches'


By Murray Weiss, Katie Honan and Aidan Gardiner

EAST ELMHURST — A man told investigators he bludgeoned his girlfriend and her daughter to death with a hammer Wednesday morning because he thought they were "witches" who "were casting spells on me," sources said.

Carlos Amarillo, 44, grabbed a hammer and turned on his live-in girlfriend, 56-year-old Estrella Castaneda, and her daughter, Lina Castaneda, 24, because he thought they were practicing "voodoo" on him in their 87th Street home about 12:15 a.m., sources said.

The mother and daughter, whom he called "witches," suffered blunt force trauma to the head and were pronounced dead at the scene, sources and police said.

A next door neighbor, Jorge Carrion, said his wife was home at the time and heard some banging the night of the killings.

"She heard banging on the wall, but didn't hear screaming," Carrion said.

Lina Castaneda's 7-year-old girl, whose identity was not released, was home at the time of the brutal slayings, but police carried her out of the house unharmed, neighbors and sources said.

"The amount of rage had to be unbelievable. At least he left the baby alone," said neighbor Debbie Marrero.

After bludgeoning the two women, Amarillo called 911 and responding police took him into custody at the home, sources said.

He faces first degree murder and weapons possession charges, police said.

Sources said that there had been no prior domestic violence incidents at the 87th Street home and neighbors said the family was "very quiet."

"It's a very quiet neighborhood," Marrero said. "For something to happen around here like this is scary."