Family, friends gather to mark 21st birthday of Lubbock homicide victim Castillo – LubbockOnline.com


Wednesday was bittersweet for some in the Lubbock community, as it was the day Katrina Castillo would have celebrated her 21st birthday.

“This is our first birthday without her here,” said Esther Soliz, Castillo’s aunt.

Castillo’s friends and family gathered Wednesday evening at her grave site at the Resthaven Cemetery to release balloons in celebration of the first birthday after her death in a homicide earlier this year. It was a chilly night, but Castillo’s loved ones didn’t let that stop them from remembering how special she was.

“She was a light to all of us,” said Soliz. “She was bubbly and outgoing, and just a lot of fun. She was loving to everybody and so giving.”

Friends of Castillo’s shared stories of how they imagine they would celebrate her birthday if she were still here and how they have found some consolation in social media videos and photos that others have posted of her. They also read a poem about celebrating birthdays in heaven, which is another source of comfort as the family mourns.

“It’s a huge celebration for us because we know she’s having a celebration with Christ,” said Soliz. “So while we miss her so much here, we know she’s having the best celebration today.”

Loved ones wrote birthday wishes and notes to Castillo on gold balloons and lit sky lanterns before releasing them into the air and singing “Happy Birthday” for her. While Soliz says they always miss Castillo, she feels peaceful seeing so many people gather in Castillo’s memory.

“We miss her so much, every single day, but we know she’s watching over us and she’s so happy,” said Soliz. “The beauty that she’s seen and the celebration she’s seen is nothing compared to the beauty we see here. It just brings us peace and comfort knowing she’s in God’s arms.”

Xavier Garcia, 21, has been held at the Lubbock County Detention Center since his Feb. 7 arrest in connection with Castillo’s stabbing death two days before, according to A-J Media archives. Her body was in the backyard of a home in the 4200 block of East Second Street. Police officials could not confirm if the killings are related. Grand jurors in April indicted Garcia for capital murder in connection with Castillo’s death.

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