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Tuesday, January 25, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Dna from bones linked to missing Shoreline man

Seattle Times Snohomish County bureau

Police have determined that the skeletal remains found at a Lynnwood construction site last spring likely belong to Victor James Castillo, a 38-year-old Shoreline resident who disappeared almost three years ago.

The remains were identified through DNA tests using blood samples taken from Castillo's father and brother, said Lynnwood police Detective Michael McBride.

The Lynnwood Police Department has been investigating the case since the bones were found in June by a construction worker.

The worker said he was walking along a ditch between Interstate 5 and a hotel construction site in the 4200 block of 200th Street Southwest. When he bent over to pick up keys he had dropped, he spotted the top of a skull, said Trudy Dana, Lynnwood police spokeswoman.

Tests taken by Genelex Laboratories in Seattle found a 99.44 percent match between DNA taken from the bones and genetic material taken from the Castillo family members.

The Snohomish County medical examiner has not determined the cause of death. Dr. Norman Thiersch, chief medical examiner, said he will request further testing.

"Right now we're interviewing associates and acquaintances to find out as much as we can," McBride said.

Detectives and medical-examiner's investigators searching the scene in June found most of the skeleton, clothing and some teeth. Missing bones may have been moved by animals, McBride said.

Castillo disappeared March 26, 1997, and was last seen by a friend at a tavern in Seattle's Madison Park area.

The next day his 10-year-old sedan was found abandoned, blocking the delivery door of an auto glass shop at 210th Street Southwest and Highway 99, about 1 1/2 miles from where the bones were found.

In July, a month after the bones were found, Lynnwood police said Castillo was one of five possibilities authorities were looking at.

DNA tests were taken in October after a combination of evidence and interviews indicated the skeleton might be Castillo's, said Detective Jim Doyon of the King County Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff's Office polices the Shoreline area.

King County sheriff's detectives suspected foul play and followed the case from the time the Shoreline resident disappeared.

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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