Questions linger in Emory grad’s fatal shooting on I-20

Rodrigo Castillo

Credit: GoFundMe

Credit: GoFundMe

Rodrigo Castillo

No witnesses have come forward and no surveillance video is available from the night Rodrigo Castillo was found slumped over in his car from a fatal gunshot on I-20, Atlanta police said at a news conference Tuesday.

Now, with little information to work with, the department’s investigation hinges on one person: a woman who likely last saw Castillo alive.

The 33-year-old from Mableton was found dead in his silver Volkswagen Jetta just after midnight Friday. Investigators found three shell casings from a 9mm gun, but Atlanta police homicide Lt. Andrea Webster said at a news conference Monday that they don’t know where the weapon is or have any suspects.

A rough timeline shows Castillo and the woman, who has not been identified, met for a date at Leon’s Full Service in Decatur about 8 p.m. The two then went to the Kimball House before leaving about 11:30 p.m., Webster said.

Not long after leaving the date, Castillo was found in his car in the right lane of I-20 near the Martin Luther King Jr. exit.

Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Natalie Dale said their cameras operate strictly on a live feed and do not record, unlike Facebook or Periscope, whose feeds record and capture images.

“Although our cameras do have the ability to record, as GDOT standard practice we do not record any footage from any of our cameras on our roadways,” Dale said in an emailed statement to “That is our consistent practice statewide and has always been.”

MORE: Rodrigo Castillo Memorial Fund

Rodrigo Castillo, an Emory University graduate, was found dead in his car Friday night along I-20. (Credit: Atlanta Police Department)

Credit: Atlanta Police Department

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Credit: Atlanta Police Department

Before Castillo’s death, he and a friend, Camila Garwacki, casually talked about his dating life, often using social media to gather background about some of the women Castillo met on dating apps before he went on the dates.

And while Castillo showed Garwacki a photo of this last date, they hadn’t searched for her on social media sites and Garwacki said she didn’t recall the woman’s name.

“No one thinks she did it,” Garwacki told The AJC, “but we just want some answers as to what’s going on.”

No description of the woman has been released, but police believe she was a graduate student at either Georgia State University or Emory University.

"We don't believe she is involved, but any timeline she can give us would be helpful,"  Webster said.

Authorities also urge anyone who may have seen the duo in the downtown Decatur area between 8 p.m. and midnight to give them a call.

Police said Castillo was on several dating apps. They are working to confirm on which app he met the woman.

“They (the dating apps) are being cooperative,” Webster said. “We have sent out multiple warrants to dating applications to determine who this woman is.”

Still, until the mystery date is found, loved ones must grapple with other questions, including why Castillo’s car was found in the right lane on the interstate.

“It could’ve been car trouble, it could’ve been an altercation,” Webster said. “We are not sure at this time.”

For Garwacki, it’s what makes the skimp details on Castillo’s death even murkier.

“He was an analyst,” she said. “He would never stop in the middle of the interstate.”

Castillo, who graduated from Emory University in 2008, worked as an analyst for a logistics firm in Atlanta.

His boyish grin, lighthearted humor and giving spirit were sure to put a smile on his friends’ face.

Rodrigo Castillo was on a date hours before his killing. Police are searching for the woman he was on a date with. (Credit: Atlanta Police Department)

Credit: Atlanta Police Department

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Credit: Atlanta Police Department

“He’s just one of those people who it’s hard not to fall in love with him,” Garwacki said.

By all accounts, Castillo was smart.

After graduating from Emory with a degree in finance and behavioral management, he attended Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management, where he specialized in strategic and financial management, according to his LinkedIn page.

He was adept at getting information, but was what Garwacki called street smart. “I don’t think (the shooting) was a road rage,” she said.

While Castillo was responsible, he had a fun-loving, caring spirit.

Garwacki said Castillo remembered a comment she made about a beer-shaped lollipop she ate as a young girl. Garwacki searched for the treat on every trip she took to Columbia, where her family is originally from, but never found it.

MORE: Driver killed on I-20 had date hours before death; person of interest sought

It wasn’t until Castillo took a June trip to Mexico, going from “candy store to candy store,” that the delectable was found. He brought back a bag of it and other childhood goodies for Garwacki.

“He ended up eating the majority of them,” Garwacki said with a chuckle. “He had a huge sweet tooth.”

Loved ones buried Castillo on Sunday, but they are holding a candlelight vigil at 8:45 p.m. Friday at Caffeinated Crossfit at 1875 Mitchell Road in Mableton for friends who were unable to attend the funeral.

Garwacki gave the last two lollipops she had to Castillo’s parents, but ordered more to pass out at the vigil along with a written message: “Don’t let the party stop.”

“It’s such a him thing to say.”

Atlanta police said Castillo went on a date with a woman he met using a dating app Thursday night before he was shot in the head driving along I-20.