PASCO, WA - The Franklin County Coroner has announced that the remains found on July 6 are that of the missing woman Michelle Hudnall.
On July 20, 2018 the Franklin County Coroner's Office received confirmation from the King County medical Examiner's Office that the remains discovered on July 6 in North Pasco are positively identified as that of Michelle Hudnall, according to Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel.
Blasdel says that until now, the identification has only been the assumed identity of Hudnall based on circumstances. The positive identification is scientific and made based on comparison of Hudnall's X-ray records to the discovered remains by an expert forensic anthropologist.
PASCO, WA - A murder investigation out of Pasco has been underway for nearly a month. A body found along the Columbia River in early July turned out to be that of 40-year-old Michelle Hudnall. She leaves behind four children. Now, three people are in jail on holds related to her death.
The probable cause affidavits from Franklin County detail how detectives found the three suspects and what happened to Hudnall.
Her family reported her missing after saying they had not heard from her since May 11. A witness told Pasco detectives that the day of May 14 Hudnall had stopped by the Tahitian Motel with Benny Lozano Jr to buy a ''sack.'' Lozano referred to Hudnall as his girlfriend.
That night, the same witness said she woke up in her Pasco apartment to find 39-year-old Florentino 'Jai' Castillo and Lozano walking in. She said Lozano had a limp, white female over his shoulders. The witness later identified Hudnall in a photo lineup.
Police arrested Lozano on July 1 on unrelated charges including possession of meth. He later told police that he, Castillo and Hudnall had been driving through Pasco when Hudnall said something that angered Castillo. Castillo allegedly hit, choked, and killed Hudnall in the car.
They took her body to that witness's apartment and then drove to Finley, back to the Starlight Motel in Pasco, and then a day later to the bank of the Columbia River. Most of this was done in 27-year-old Guadalupe Sanchez's car.
On May 15th Castillo and Lozano are alleged to have wrapped Michelle's body in a tarp with rocks and rolled her down an embankment. Hudnall's van was found nearby with the keys in it just days later.
Her family filed a missing person report and then on July 5 two people found Hudnall's body and reported it to police.
At this time, both Castillo and Lozano are being held in the Franklin County Jail on a murder charge related to Hudnall's death. Sanches is being held on a rendering criminal assistance charge.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with Hudnall's family: https://www.gofundme.com/for-our-angel-michelle-hudnall
PASCO, WA - On June 28, 2018, Michelle Hudnall was reported by her family as a missing person.
On the evening of July 3, it was reported to Pasco Police officers that Michelle Hudnall had been killed by Florentino “Jai” Castillo and that her body had been left along a river. Pasco detectives immediately began to investigate the details in this case.
A witness to the alleged disposal of the body was found and provided key information that gave PPD a clearer picture of the events that surrounded Hudnall's disappearance.
On the evening of July 5, two people not involved in the case came upon human remains along the Columbia River, near the intersection of Columbia River Road and Sagemoor Road. They reported it to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
PPD detectives assisted The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in processing the scene where the body was located along with the help of the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab Response Team.
Once the crime scene was processed, the Franklin County Coroner’s Office took custody of the remains.
Based on PPD's investigation at this time, it is believed those remains to be that of Michelle Hudnall; however, they are still waiting for the Franklin County Coroner’s Office to confirm the identity.
Three individuals have been arrested for their involvement in this case.
1. Florentino “Jai” Castillo, 39 of Pasco
2. Benny Lozano Jr, 27 of Pasco
Both have been booked into the Franklin County jail for Murder in the second degree.
3. Guadelupe Sanchez , 27 of Pasco was also booked for Rendering Criminal assistance in the second degree.
This is an active investigation and detectives continue to work all leads in this case. If anyone has any information that may assist them in this case, please call (509) 545-3421.
7-6-18 ORIGINAL STORY:
PASCO, WA - Pasco Police are investigating after some people found the remains of a body along the Columbia River in the northern part of Pasco.
It was around 8 last night when the people came across the bones while hanging out at Carbody Beach in North Pasco. It is just off of Columbia River Road where the Potholes Canal meets the river near Johnson Island.
Franklin County Sheriff's deputies, Pasco Police and Benton County investigators along with the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab personnel were all on scene until well into the afternoon.
It is not known how long the body has been there, but police are investigating it as a suspicious death.
Pasco Police say they will not be releasing any other information over the weekend.
"With human remains, we treat it all like it's a homicide," said Sgt. Scott Warren with the Pasco Police Department. "We don't know anything at this point so we don't want to miss nothing; so, we locked it all down. We've been taking it one step at a time. From beginning to end, and we are in the very beginning phases."
The Franklin County Coroner says he is now sending the remains to a King County medical examiner to help make an identification.