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The Brutal Murder Of Jada Justice

June 28, 2009 at 12:36 am by  

Hobart, IN“She was wearing an orange skirt and a tank top with orange and green stripes.” That was what 18-year old Engelico Castillo told the police on the night of June 16, when her 2-year old cousin, Jada Justice, went missing. Castillo said she went to a gas station in Gary and left Jada in her car-seat in the back seat of her unlocked vehicle while she went inside to purchase cigarettes and milk. When she returned, Jada was gone.  Panic engulfed the child’s family, police, and surrounding community as they searched for the missing child. Other customers at the gas station told police they saw no one around Castillo’s car that night. Police brought dogs to aid in the search, but found no scent of Jada in the area. Police also sought the assistance of other agencies, including the F.B.I. as well as the U.S. Marshal’s Service. A day after her supposed disappearance, Jada was still missing, despite a massive search that spanned two neighboring cities and lasted more than 18 hours.

Engelica Castillo and Tim Tkachik

Engelica Castillo and Tim Tkachik (Crispy and Uncrispy)

This was when police decided to call off the search and focus their attention on Engelica Castillo. Castillo said she immediately noticed Jada missing that night when she opened the front door on the passenger side of her car. She dropped her purchased items and ran back into the station to have the teller call the police. When she called Jada’s mother and informed her Jada was missing, Swiontek asked her if she checked the area or yelled out for Jada. Castillo told her, “No, I knew she was already gone.” When questioned by police, Castillo remained calm without emotion. She said she had cried and prayed all night for Jada’s return and didn’t have any tears left. When an officer showed her Jada’s picture and told her he didn’t believe her story, she became angry, slapped at the officer’s arm and picture, and said, “You are lying and don’t know what you’re talking about.” Again, the officer placed Jada’s picture in front of Castillo and she attempted to strike the officer in the face. Castillo was restrained for 30 seconds until she finally calmed down, and that was when she told the officer, “God is taking care of her. God is watching over her.” When Castillo’s 23-year old boyfriend, Timothy Tkachik, was questioned he was suffering from some serious second-degree burns to his face and arms that he said was due to his propane grill catching fire days prior to Jada’s disappearance. Investigators didn’t believe him either and the following story is what Tkachik said happened to little Jada.

After doing several lines of heroin with Castillo on the night of June 12, he and Castillo awoke around 11 a.m. the next day. Castillo went to check on Jada and he knew she was angry with Jada for soiling her pants because he could hear her yelling. Castillo began spanking Jada and pulling her hair and when Jada didn’t cry, she became even more angrier and  hit her harder. Castillo slapped Jada causing the child to fall and hit her head on a table causing a small cut. Castillo then made Jada stand in the corner and left the room. She returned as soon as Jada began acting up again and began punching her in the head. Unable to stop the bitch, Tkachik went to another room to watch television. Around 7 p.m. that evening, Tkachik and Castillo planned to travel to someones house to purchase more heroin. Castillo got Jada ready and put her in Tkachik’s Tahoe. It was when they were on the highway that Tkachik realized Jada was not breathing. He jumped into the backseat and began performing CPR on her. Castillo pulled over, began screaming and crying, and tried to perform CPR on the child as well. When Tkachik realized Jada was dead, he told Castillo, “I told you to stop. I told you enough is enough.”

The couple returned home, parked in the driveway, covered Jada’s body with a car cover, and left her in the back seat. Then they got into Castillo’s car and headed back to the house to buy drugs and then to Chicago. When they returned that night, they checked on Jada. At first, they believed she was breathing and so Castillo once again tried giving her CPR. But Jada was dead, her tiny head was covered with several bruises and bumps, marks to tell the truth behind her brutal murder. Tkachik wrapped her body in 3 garbage bags, took her down to the basement, and then he and Castillo went to bed. They spent most of the next day trying to come up with ways to get rid of the body. Around 3:30 that afternoon, Tkachik placed Jada’s body in the back of his Tahoe and he and Castillo went to a Menard’s store in Michigan City where he purchased a metal garbage can. Tkachik then went to a gas station, purchased some charcoal, lighter fluid, and gas for a gas can he brought along. The couple headed to a wooded area in LaPorte County and it was there that they poured the gas and lighter fluid into a hole they had found. They dumped Jada’s body into the hole along with the charcoal. When Tkachik lit a piece of the charcoal bag and dropped it into the hole, it created an explosion which is the real explanation behind his burns. When the fire went out they discovered it had only burned the bags and Jada’s body could still be seen. They left her in the hole and drove back home to think of another plan.

The following morning, June 15, Tkachik grabbed three more garbage bags and the couple drove back to the wooded area to retrieve Jada’s body. On their way back home, they stopped again at the Menard’s and purchased a braided rope, four 50 lbs. bags of instant cement, a blue 20 gallon tote container with a lid, and a 600 lb. capacity dolly. At home, Tkachik took the items along with Jada’s body to the basement. He removed Jada’s body from the garbage bags and placed her in the tote along with the cement. Tkachik then poured water into the tote and used a space heater to dry the concrete. Once the cement was dry, Tkachik and Castillo loaded the tote into his vehicle, drove back to the same wooded area, and carried it to an area by a swamp. Tkachik then used a small saw to cut the tote from the cement because he knew their fingerprints were on it. They shoved the cement into the water where it eventually sank below the surface. The couple went back home, did some more heroin and went to bed. The following day was when Tkachik came up with the plan of saying Jada had been abducted. On June 25, Tkachik directed officers to Jada Justice’s watery grave. The cemented tomb was transported to the coroner’s office and it was there that Jada’s body was identified. Jada’s tiny skull had numerous fractures and the outfit she wore was the only thing her murderer told the truth about. Jada was dressed in an orange skirt and a tank top with orange and green stripes. Engelica Castillo and Tim Tkachik are now being held without bond in the Lake County Jail. They are  both charged with murder, neglect of a dependent, battery and false informing. R. I. P. Little Jada Justice. May both of these worthless assholes rot in Hell for extinguishing the light from your innocent, yet, trustful eyes.


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  • I know this story so well..i am from Crown Point,in….this bitch just sickens me…i personally think Gary Indiana screwed up bad….they could have had these assholes on June 17th if they just kept it up…but no they sent them home and for a week kept looking 4 her,where all along these things knew where the beautiful baby girl was. I hope they both Rot in hell for what they have done. I know they are in Lake County Indiana Jail the just behind my house if I wasnt in Tx now id visit that bitch myself…if i only had female friends in Jail..I do have some connections in the same jail but for the male mayb i should talk to one of them!!!! This hurts my heart so bad,when i got a text about them finding her which was the exact time they announced Michael Jacksons Death on TMZ i just started bawling….I want to hurt them so bad i can feel it to my bones…

  • Rest in peace Jada. Tiny angels should never know this sort of terror.

  • Taz


    selenabell thanks for posting, I feel the same pain inside of me for the terrible things done to her.

    My understanding of it is the cops pretty much knew what was up and tried to hold her, but the D.A. office wouldn’t do it. They did there best and worked hard to get the evidence and they eventually did. These two low life Turds aren’t going any were but to prison for a long time.

    We all knew Engelica was a lieing sack of shit, but the cops need more than that. They needed cold hard facts and evidence. They have everything they need now. I believe it wont be long before Engelica cracks and either kills her self or takes a crappy plea deal.

  • I hope not i hope she stays in jail 4 a long long time and gets her ass kicked every fucking day…I wish i was back there so bad I would have helped trying to find her and everything..when i 1st heard this story from my cousin i was like they are lying something isnt right. She clamins she was afraid to drive in Hobart cause she had no license but she drove to gary…i dont care how close that gas station was and she picked 1 with no cameras…yea come on now!!! Oh i hate them so much i want them to die!!!!!

  • Taz

    I don’t know how long her and Tim have been doing Heroin, but she has to be jonseing pretty bad for it by now. Thats one mean ass monkey on your back. So I know right now she is suffering both from her guilty conscious and her Heroin Monkey. No more drugs to cloud her mind and erase her shame. Her suffering is only begining Selenabell. She is in for much much more. This is but a small taste of whats comming her way.

  • ok, usually i dont like to point to the parents that have lost a child- however, i have to ask, how these junkies ended up with lil Jada for THAT many days in a row??? i get that Jada is cousin to Engelico Castillo- but how does she end up having her for 3 days without the parents at least checking in?

    i was following this on Nancy Grace and i knew that girl was lying when she said she parked on the side of the store. *red flag*

    the mom seemed a little distant on TV. i couldnt tell if it was shock or if she herself might have an issue?

    i have been wondering what happened to this cutie-pie, it’s sick how many kids are murdered for soiling their pants!

    thank you for this post for Jada :*(
    xoxo Pam, Kelli’s mom

  • Thanks mom of kelli. Jada was originally supposed to spend about 8 days with Castillo. Her mother dropped her off on June 8 and then called a few days later to check on her.(She could not remember if it was the 11th or 12th) She spoke with Jada that day, but when she called the next day, she only spoke with Castillo who said they were going to take Jada swimming the following day due to the warm weather. I had it in the original draft, but had to cut it due to the length of the story.

  • succubus

    mom of kelly says:
    it’s sick how many kids are murdered for soiling their pants!

    i know what you mean. i almost lost my child due to the same reason.
    the mom in this story reminds me of me,
    you get this shocking calm about you cuz all these scenarios run thru your head.
    i dont know what was going thru moms head when she was on Nancy, but i definitely know the “look” mom had. shocked, dazed, confused & betrayed

  • Taz

    They had a memorial today for Jada at Tod Park. Jada’s mother, Melissa Swiontek, gave some interviews to the press. Or more like trying to cover her own ass. She is now claiming Engelica & Tim asked her to let Jada stay over at there house for a two-week “fun stay.” . A big WTF!! to that one. Melissa also claims she is “NOT” under investigation from DCS, they were only at her house to give support to her. Another WTF!!!. The commenter’s on the article are calling her out for that. I am not trying to diss, Jada’s mom, but I know stink when I smell it and some one just cut a doozy. I am starting to think Melissa might be one of Tims clients.

    Just before the balloon launch, amongst hugs and words of support, Swiontek said Castillo and Tkachik asked her if Justice could stay with them for a two-week “fun stay.”

    She also denied reports that she was under investigation by the Department of Child Services.

    They were definitely there for support and for anything they could do to help,” Swiontek said of the Child Services visits to her house. “There is no investigation, and they didn’t question the kids or search the house or anything like that.”

    Justice’s three siblings wore T-shirts bearing her picture and the words “World’s Greatest Sister,” as they ran around with other kids in Tod Park, where a grill and tents were set up to feed the guests.

    “My favorite thing about Jada was the way she smiled at me,” said Celeste Albanice, 10, Justice’s oldest sister. “She smiled like there was no tomorrow.”


    Heroin use is not hideable, everyone who knows the sitter and boyfriend knew of their dangerous behavior. So now do something to not keep Jada’s death on your hands as well. Family or friend, who you hang out with says alot about you! Sadly, the baby girl was put at risk for convenience

    More stuff

  • thinkgoat

    I had read this story when it first hit – they hadn’t found Jada. What a sick sick sick account of this child’s final hours and disposal of her remains.

    You did a great job of collecting the information and writing it all up. Kudos.

  • thanks guys for the comments back.

    i am just sick over this! i’m not that well of a person (lol) so i take great pleasure knowing the guy felt pain and is scarred for life with those burns.

    i only wish Castillo would have caught on fire with him. proving once again there is no justice in the world and everything does NOT happen for a reason!!

    rest in sweet peace sweetpea Jada. i’m asking Kelli to show you around the new place and be & big sister angel to you. *tears*

    xoxo Pam, Kelli’s mom

  • ps: i’m going to have to back Taz up on this one big time!

    i think sometimes parents get blamed too often out of anger & frustration when a child is killed at the hands of others…. so i usually try to support the parents– but in this case… i think Jada’s mom had to know this girl was a junkie and made a horrible decision (for whatever reason. her own drug use?) to let Jada spend time at her house.

    no matter how slick you think you are- EVERYONE knows when you are an addict- especially on heroin. like Taz said- it’s not hideable.

  • Im sorry but to me the mom had to know something…and she looked lie she wasnt even fazed when she was on the news. She says she was numb or in shock whatever. I dont think they could have kept me away from that bitch that killed her if they even tried u would have to put my ass in jail to. I hate that picture 2 its looks like they are smiling and i want to punch that smile off their fucking faces…Does any 1 know y she didnt ask her dad to watch her?

  • DarkPrincess

    I knew from day 1 this bitch and her fried moron were full of shit.

  • silvahalo

    This started as a missing case, and though I rarely follow so closely, due to the enormity of emotional toll it takes, I decided to watch this one unfold. I had hope that baby Jada would come back home alive and well. I think I was much in denial but dammit, I just wanted one of these cases to turn out differently…so many, so many little ones lost….

    From the beginning I think we all knew Engelica’s story was a load of shit. Turns out as we suspected she was a lying bitch, a whore to her drugs. Her and the loser boyfriend, took baby Jada’s life, stole it, beat the life out of her. And I’m not all too happy how mom dropped baby Jada off for potty training…the plan was to leave her there for 2 fuckn’ weeks. wtf ever.

    At the end, we learn what we suspected. The bitch and bastard killed baby Jada. She was disposed of without a care other than for their own loser asses. She was found in shallow water entombed in concrete. If I were to have real justice served for Jada, their loser, depraved asses would meet their ending in concrete too.

    Jada, you were a treasure, a blessing…that you were treated so cruelly and maliciously breaks my heart. Be at peace now little angel…kisses Jada.“…She smiled like there was no tomorrow.”…sigh.

  • Taz


    They had to Stun Tims ass before court today. My guess is he was trying to kill himself, can’t see any other reason for it. Engelica was visibly trembling when it was her turn up to bat. Maybe a bit of that, was her monkey buddy, the big “H”???. Damn this was a freakin circus.

    Lake County police had to use a stun gun Monday morning on one of the two adults now charged with the murder of 2-year-old Jada Justice. Tim Tkachik, 24, of Hobart, appeared for his initial hearing Monday morning with his head bandaged and a prominent bruise on his left cheek.

    Michael Higgins, a spokesman for county police, said Tkachik became disruptive in a holding cell shortly before the court session. “He got up on a table and was trying to get into an electrical panel. He was asked nicely to get down and when he didn’t they had to use a Tazer,” Higgins said. Higgins said jail medical staff tended to Tkachik’s injuries arising from the incident.

    His 18-year-old girlfriend, Engelica Castillo, also of Hobart was visibly trembling during the court session as she stood a few feet from Tkachik and heard they both were being charged with neglecting, battering and murdering Jada on June 13 as well as being charged with lying to police in their effort to cover up the crime.

    Lake Criminal Court Magistrate Natalie Bakota entered innocent pleas on behalf of Tkachik and Castillo’s and said they will be held without bond until trial. Merrillville attorney T. Edward Page, who represented Castillo’s family last week, patted Castillo’s shoulder in an effort to comfort her during the hour-long session.

    Tkachik briefly disrupted the court session Monday as the magistrate was questioning Castillo about whether she could afford a private lawyer or needed a court-appointed attorney who would defend her a taxpayer expense. Castillo said she cannot afford to retain Page in the future. Bakota said the Lake County Public Defender’s staff will appoint a new attorney to represent her. As the magistrate was questioning Castillo about her lack of income, Tkachik said Castillo wasn’t disclosing all her family’s income. “You get child support. She gets child support,” Tkachik said.

    A source close to the family said Castillo doesn’t have children and that Tkachik is referring to child support Castillo’s mother is owed. The magistrate warned Tkachik not to interrupt her or Castillo. She repeatedly told Tkachik to pay attention to her and not talk about other matters. Tkachik said he plans to hire his own lawyer. Page said her defense will require more financial resources then her family can afford. Page said he may assist the public defender’s staff in her case at some future date if asked.

    The magistrate ordered both to appear in Criminal Court next week for the beginning of a series pre-trial hearing. No trial date has been set.


  • solange822001

    I missed this story. It hurts to read this, but I need to know what happened. How did they finally catch them, or get them to confess?

    By the way, trust me when I say getting off heroin like that is indescribable. Rest assured, they are suffering. Not enough for what they did to Baby Jada as far as Im concerned, but better than nothing.

  • solange822001

    Oh, and by the way, over my dead fucking body would I let my ghetto 18 year old cousin and her boyfriend take care of my child for a minute, much less days on end. As far as Im concerned Mommy can go to hell too. Good job stupid bitch, get your fucking tubes tied. You make me fucking sick, like you didnt know they were doing heroin.

  • solange822001

    Oh, how fucking nice:

    Valdez said his niece was staying with Castillo because Jada’s mother had planned to go out of town with a boyfriend and was visiting friends.

    Was the bootycall worth the death of your child, you ugly warthog looking bitch?

  • MadeaBecBec

    Pics of her funeral and casket at the link!

    Jada Justice was carried for the last time Friday in the arms of those who loved her.

    The 2-year-old’s uncles, Michael Valdez and Lamont Joyce, cried openly as they carried the little girl’s tiny white casket to its final resting place in Heritage Cemetery in Portage. More than 200 people followed silently behind them.


    I hope to meet you one fine day, Jada, until then, flutter bye!

  • Rhonda

    What a sad case, its more than sad. I want to beat the sh** out of Castillo and her little boy boyfriend. If he was so concerned he should have called in on her dum azz. I am mad, I would have happily raised this child for them. It is heartbreaking for me to keep reading about these worthless people who hurt their children. Isnt corner time enough?? They are kids, babies they cannot harm anyone. Hell when it comes to this dont blame the drugs blame the dam crack-head. Little Jada rest in peace my love, you are with our Father and nobody else will ever hurt you, I am so sorry this happened to you. Im sorry to Castillo’s mother but your daughter needs to be punished in the same way that she hurt her child. The only good thing is that Jesus Christ already forgave her. But I am still angry! Rest in peace beautiful Jada. 🙁

  • chelle25

    of course she soiled her pants…. no one had checked on her or even fed or until 11am the next morning, my daughter is 3 and a half and will most def mess herself if i dont check on her & care for her…. poor baby was probably so hungry…. for her parents to leave her with heroin addicts for 8 days & the fact she didnt cry when she got whooped tells you she was used to the abuse & neglect…God knew where she needed to be…. rip little angel baby.

  • oceangirly92

    Where was her mother

  • vercingetorixXIII

    what happened to Kelli? Not trying to hurt you or ask questions I shouldnt just want to know, one more child killed before they grow up and can protect themself? this world is going to prove too much for me to handle…

  • vercingetorixXIII

    he is hating her about right now,,, I know thaat feeling, someone you kind of like gets you in shit you dont want to be in but thank god its never been for killing someone. especially a little kid, burn in hell bitch you belong on pysih..

  • vercingetorixXIII

    Yeh they are, and jail dont give you shit, they like to see you suffer, if you got money you can pay to have methadone brought each day, when they feel like bringing it,

  • vercingetorixXIII

    What? what? no one loved her, she was born and left to fend for herself,m fucking bitches, how dare you say in the arms of those who loved her, fuck you… this is a little too much for even me…

  • vercingetorixXIII

    Kids pee and poop, so what, we all did at one time, ypu dont yell at a kid OR KILL HER for going pee or poop, I have to leave this page now…

  • vercingetorixXIII

    http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/article_b56e… I guess thats the fat ass mother right there in the black dress acting like she cares,,,

  • bobo

    something definitely is fishy here. i don't trust this mother. she DOES need to get her tubes tied. she must be only about 25 and has how many children??

  • bobo

    okay, she's 28. even worse. she should know better.

  • Intelligentvirtue

    RIP little angel. I'm sorry that your supposed loved ones failed you and that your last moments were spent in agony instead of watching Sesame Street, blowing dandelions and chasing bubbles. xoxo to your forever.

  • Justice for Jada: Castillo gets life without parole.


  • Skyeler Renee Wood

    Life sentence tossed for Jada Justice killer, Supreme Court sets 65-year term Castillo’s original sentence of life without the possibility of parole was inappropriate.
    http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/hobart/life-sentence-tossed-for-jada-justice-killer-supreme-court-sets/article_8c8960ae-2268-59bb-8a8d-550e48786ee6.html Inappropriate are you fucking kidding me this bitch whom i went to school with murdered this poor child and didnt give a shit. She should of got the death penalty in my opinion.

  • Korry Shepard

    How the hell can you blame Gary Indiana for this? The perpetrators were both from Hobart. The crime happened in Portage. The body wasn’t found in Gary – it was in LaPorte. They had at least two other cities searching PLUS the FBI and the US Marshals helping… but fuck all of that it’s Gary’s fault!? The only reason Gary had anything to do with it because the bitch came to a gas station in Gary with her bullshit story talking about there were black guys beside her car when the child supposedly got abducted. Get your facts correct and stay in Texas.

  • Sundance Rydr


  • Alyssa Huerta

    I’m Jada’s aunt and Melissa’s sister. I know it’s been years since many of you have commented, but I needed to say this:

    My sister had no idea about Engelica or Tim’s heroin use. None of us did. Our mom didn’t, my dad didn’t, our brothers didn’t. None of us knew. Engelica had been watching the kids in the family since she was 12 years old; she kept an eye on me when we were younger. She never in her life hurt any of those kids until the murder of Jada. There was absolutely zero evidence that she would hurt, let alone end up killing, my niece.

    Don’t blame my sister for this tragedy she and the rest of us had to endure because she was trying to keep a brave face. Because she was trying to stay strong for her 3 other kids and for herself. My sister is not an expressive person. She doesn’t break down. She suffers in silence. None of you saw the fatigue in her eyes or saw the depression she was stuck in. None of you know what she fought for, what she was put through or how many lies some people told about her; every last allegation has been proven false because they were lies.

    Not everyone experiences things the same way and not everyone is going to express them the same way. When my mom found out she cried, but I didn’t. My mind and body shut down and I collapsed on my bed in my room. I don’t know when my sister slept, but it looked like it had been weeks once we had Jada’s funeral. I ended up in the hospital for dehydration and lost 30 lbs because I didn’t take care of myself. No one noticed because I acted fine.

    What you see isn’t always the whole story and just because you think what you saw for small spurts means my sister didn’t/doesn’t care doesn’t mean you’re right. My sister was exhausted, depressed, still raising 3 other children and working her ass of to find/and then bury her youngest child. Sorry she didn’t breakdown into fucking hysterics or act like you wanted her to. Kindly go fuck yourselves.