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Husband charged with local educator’s death

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The husband of a local educator brutally killed in 2017 was indicted Thursday for the crime, according to documents filed with the New Mexico 5th Judicial Court in Chaves County.

Castulo Michael Aragon in March 2017. (File Photo)

Castulo Michael Aragon, 58, was charged with killing 49-year-old Maria Elena Tilton Aragon, his wife of about 11 months at the time of her death around March 4, 2017.

He also has been charged with three felonies for tampering with evidence. The indictment allows for either first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter charges.

The indictment was announced by the offices of New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas and 5th Judicial District Attorney Dianna Luce.

“I appreciate the collaboration of resources and personnel with Attorney General Hector Balderas to prosecute this violent crime and obtain justice for Maria Aragon,” Luce said. “As the 5th District Attorney, I stand up for victims of domestic violence and violent crimes and seek justice.”

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A statement from Balderas noted that domestic violence cases are a top priority and that both offices will work together to prosecute the case.

Maria Elena Tilton Aragon (Submitted Photo)

Aragon’s body was discovered off the side of the road southeast of Vaughn on the morning of March 6, 2017, which was a Monday. She was found about 10 hours after she had been reported missing to the Roswell Police Department by her husband. He reportedly had told police that he had last heard from her March 5, Sunday morning, when she texted him that she was going for a walk.

The findings of an autopsy completed in May 2017 by the Office of the Medical Investigator had concluded that she had been beaten, stabbed and strangled. The autopsy report indicated that Maria Aragon had suffered injuries “over a period of time” and that the head injuries showed indications of having been sustained about 24 hours before her death.

Maria Aragon had been a deaf and hearing specialist with the Roswell Independent School District for many years and she also taught concurrently with the New Mexico School for the Deaf. She held a master’s degree and sometimes served as a Spanish instructor with the Roswell Adult Center. She painted as a hobby and belonged to Grace Community Church.

Survivors include a son, who was a teenager living in Roswell in 2017, and parents, siblings and other relatives in Mexico, where Aragon grew up.

On at least two occasions after the homicide, the home of Castulo Aragon on West Alameda Street was searched by New Mexico State Police. At that time, during interviews with the Roswell Daily Record, he denied any involvement in the crime and spoke of his love for his wife.

According to court documents, he now lives in Gilbert, Arizona, but he was in custody in Minnesota at the time of the indictment.

The case has been assigned to Judge Dustin Hunter, and the prosecution has requested that Aragon be detained until his trial. A call to Aragon’s attorney in Albuquerque was not returned by press time.

Senior writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.