On September 16th of 2012, five years ago tomorrow, Lexie Castile was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head. Her death has not been ruled a suicide, nor has anyone been charged with homicide. At this point, her family just wants closure.
Laurie Holler, Lexie’s mom, reminisces, “She always had this big smile, and her son carries it on. She had a very giving heart,” but though her grandson helps keep Lexie’s memory alive, Laurie is still left with a hole inside… “I’m… I’m kind of losing hope.”
Lexie Castile lived with her son, Austin, and her boyfriend. Lexie’s family believes that he was abusive towards her. Her mom says, “I saw her probably a week before she passed away and she had a black eye.”
The family says Lexie’s boyfriend alienated her from them. Lexie had told her best friend that she planned on taking her son and leaving. “She loved her son,” says Laurie, “he was her whole world.”
They lived in the garage of his mother’s house, located in the 1100 block of West 24th Street. She was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head in that garage, just a month after moving in. Lexie’s son was just three years old and was in the room at the time of her death. “He does remember things now,” says Laurie, “it’s slowly coming back to him… and he has told us things that have happened.”
The DA’s office told the family that there was not enough evidence to take the case to trial.
Lexie’s family and friends knew something was wrong and suspected Lexie was trying to get herself and her son out of their abusive situation, but they weren’t sure how to help. To help other victims, Lexie’s family now is involved with SafeNet, which provides counseling, advocacy services, emergency shelter, and more to those in abusive situations. “Don’t ever stay in an abusive situation,” warns Laurie, “there’s always a way out… I just hope to help somebody else out in this situation with domestic violence… it doesn’t need to happen.”
We spoke with Robyn Young, the Director of Domestic Violence Services for SafeNet and she told us, “Women are actually 75% more likely to be injured or killed after they leave… if they cut off that contact with them, they don’t know if the person is stalking them. The person who they were with has now lost all of the control.”
And though District Attorney Jack Daneri told Lexie’s family he cannot move the case to trial, he also said he would never close the case, so the investigation remains open. Lexie’s family, however, has stopped receiving updates from the police in regards to the case.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive situation, please go to http://www.safeneterie.org/.