High school baseball player charged with Donna teen’s murder

EDINBURG — A high school baseball player at PSJA Memorial faces a charge of murder following an investigation into the shooting death of a Donna teenager.

Carlos Julian Contreras, the 17-year-old suspect in the death of 19-year-old Genaro Isaiah “Izzy” Castillo, remains jailed on a $1 million bond handed down during his arraignment Thursday afternoon at the Hidalgo County jail.

Public records indicate that the suspect is the son of Alamo Fire Chief Roy Contreras, who declined to take questions Thursday when reached by telephone.

“I’m sorry, I’m not going to be talking to anybody from the news,” Roy Contreras said.

According to the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect and victim were believed to have been involved in a criminal enterprise. But details as to the nature of this involvement are lacking.

Carlos Julian Contreras — who is accused of shooting the victim in the leg, torso and head — was expressionless as he was escorted into the arraignment room at about 1:58 p.m., wearing an orange jumpsuit and shackles around his wrists and ankles.

Justice of the Peace Bobby Contreras informed the accused that he was being charged with first-degree murder and read him his bond amount. Asked if he had any questions, Carlos Julian Contreras responded, “No, sir.”

The suspect’s attorney, Aviel Flores, requested a bond reduction arguing that his client is a minor who is on the baseball team at his high school.

“Obviously, my client is 17 years old,” Flores said. “He’s been on the varsity baseball team. He’s been a fire explorer for the city of Alamo. There’s a lot of things that we need to look into, judge, for any sort of reduction of that bond.”

Contreras responded, “Not at this time,” before the suspect was escorted out of the room.

The 17-year-old suspect from Alamo was arrested Wednesday by the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office in connection with Castillo’s death. Castillo’s body was discovered Tuesday on a caliche road in the Donna Lakes area, specifically near a sugarcane field off of Valley View Road.

Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra has said that his office received a 9-1-1 call at around 5:47 p.m. Tuesday from a farmer who reported that a field worker found Castillo’s body.

According to local authorities, Castillo may have died 10 to 15 minutes before his body was discovered.

Joined by the lead investigators in the case, the sheriff held a news conference immediately following Carlos Julian Contreras’ arraignment Thursday afternoon.

“In the immediate area of the crime scene, investigators were able to locate tire tracks, indicating a vehicle had just left the location, and multiple 40-caliber bullet casings,” said Guerra, who at one point during the news conference described the suspect as a “bully” who some people were afraid of. “Through the course of the investigation, investigators learned that the victim was having issues with a friend named Carlos Julian Contreras, who drove a white Ford truck.”

Guerra went on to say that Carlos Julian Contreras was located inside his white Ford truck at his residence early Wednesday morning.

The sheriff also said that investigators found a napkin with blood stains as well as multiple bullet casings inside of the vehicle.

Guerra went on to explain that Carlos Julian Contreras admitted to picking up Castillo and driving him to Donna Lakes with a man named George. Investigators, however, determined that George does not exist and identified Carlos Julian Contreras as the sole suspect, according to Guerra.

A search of Carlos Julian Contreras’s criminal history determined that he’s had prior run-ins with the law.

According to criminal complaints, on September 2019, Carlos Julian Contreras was charged with marijuana possession of 2 ounces or less, and possession of a controlled substance — namely material, compound, mixture or preparation in an amount of less than 28 grams that contained alprazolam. Other charges include possession of a dangerous drug, specifically oxycodone, and unlawful carrying of a weapon, a handgun.

Guerra said that the murder investigation is still ongoing. He asked that anyone with any information call (956) 383-8114, and if they wish to remain anonymous, they can contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at (956) 668-8477.

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Monitor staff writers Naxiely Lopez-Puente and Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro contributed to this report.