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Mullins seeks meeting to solve discrepancies
By Deedra Lawhead | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 8/4/2009 5:03 PM | Updated: 8/4/2009 10:08 PM

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Originally published Jan. 13, 1993

Palatine Village President Rita Mullins says she understands Emmanuel Castro's sense of loss, which is one reason she plans to meet with Castro and police to compare their differing versions of how quickly police acted to uncover the grisly murder scene at a fast-food restaurant.

Mullins, who lost a sister and brother-in-law in a house fire 10 years ago, said she wants to meet with Castro, father of slain teenager Michael Castro; Police Chief Jerry Bratcher; and unnamed police officers. Those officers met or talked with victims' families about their overdue relatives at the Brown's Chicken & Pasta restaurant perhaps hours before the murders were discovered at 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

Emmanuel Castro says he called the police department and met an officer at the site almost three hours before the bodies were discovered.

Relatives of victim Guadalupe Maldonado similarly say they met with police at the site at times that conflict with what police reports show.

"We need answers, so that if the procedures were not followed, to make sure they are followed in the future," Mullins said. "I still have confidence that the best thing was done, I think, for Mr. Castro's well-being. He needs answers to these questions that he has raised."

Deputy Police Chief Walt Gasior likewise said police wanted the meeting to solve discrepancies between what victims' families claim and what police department records and statements of officers show.

"We are concerned about the discrepancies in our reports as compared to the stories that are being reported in the press in regards to the two families," Gasior said "We fully intend to be meeting with them at the early possible moment to try to resolve these discrepancies."

According to police, an officer at 12:21 a.m. Saturday encountered Pedro Maldonado, the brother of victim Guadalupe Maldonado, in the parking lot of Brown's. Another officer met the parents of Michael Castro at 1:04 a.m. at the site. In both cases, the officers found nothing amiss at the site and suggested that the workers may have went somewhere together after work - a premise accepted by the family members.

The bodies were discovered after the Castro family filed a formal missing persons report and returned to the scene with a police officer.

"My rules in my house for my kids are if you will be late, you have to call," Castro said. "I lost my son. Nobody can bring him back. Had the first (police officer) done his job, maybe he could have saved at least one life."

Without disregarding the families' claims, Mullins said the grief, pain and emotional response surrounding the crime could have bearing.

"You think the very worst," Mullins said. "You're trying to say why and what if I'd done something different."