A mistrial was declared on the second day of trial for a man accused of fatally abusing a 21-year-old child, according to a news release from the 3rd Judicial District’s Attorney’s Office.
Dustin M. Castillo, 30, is charged with one count each of intentional child abuse resulting in death and intentional child abuse not resulting in death or great bodily harm, according to an indictment filed in 3rd Judicial District Court.
Castillo’s trial began Tuesday before District Judge Darren M. Kugler. A mistrial was declared Wednesday after one juror failed to appear and two others were excused, the release stated.
“The State will continue to prosecute this case and is pending a new trial date from the court,” the release stated.
Castillo was arrested in December 2012, according to Sun-News archives. About eight months earlier, in April, emergency workers received a call of an unresponsive child at the 1200 block of Davis Avenue in Las Cruces.
When an officer arrived, he found Castillo holding a 21-month-old child, who was not breathing, according to a complaint filed in Doña Ana County Magistrate Court. The court documents described Castillo as the child’s primary caregiver. He was not directly related to the child, but had been caring for the child for about six to seven months. The child and his 3-year-old sister lived with Castillo at his home in the 1200 block of Kansas Avenue.
While driving to a family gathering, Castillo told authorities that he gave the toddler a “chewy Jolly Rancher” candy. Castillo claimed the child started choking on the candy after he hit a bump in the road. The child died two days later at an El Paso hospital.
According to the complaint, physicians who treated the child told a detective that his injuries were “indicative of child abuse.” The child reportedly suffered “severe brain trauma,” a skull fracture, torn lip and “numerous bruises about his face, head and ears,” the complaint states.
A state autopsy also revealed the child had “several rib fractures in various stages of healing,” according to the indictment.
Castillo has pleaded not guilty to the child abuse charges. He is being represented by attorney Gerard Montrose.
A new trial date has not been scheduled.