Remains found at Columbia River believed to belong to 40-year-old murder victim
PASCO, Wash. - Authorities say human remains discovered along the Columbia River Thursday are believed to be those of a 40-year-old woman who was reportedly murdered.
Pasco police said two people happened across the remains along the river near the intersection of Columbia River Road and Sagemoor Road on the evening of July 5. They then informed the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.
Michelle Hudnall's family had reported her missing on June 28. Pasco police received another report on July 3 that Hudnall had been killed by Florentino “Jai” Castillo and that her body had been left along a river. Pasco detectives immediately began to investigate this case.
According to reports, police located a witness to the alleged disposal of the corpse who provided pertinent information that gave police a clearer picture of the events that surrounded Hudnall’s disappearance.
Police said they believe the human remains discovered belong to Hudnall, but are waiting for the Franklin County coroner to confirm the identity.
Authorities have arrested three people for their involvement in this incident. Florentino “Jai” Castillo, 39 of Pasco, and Benny Lozano Jr, 27 of Pasco have been booked into Franklin County Jail for second degree murder.
Guadelupe Sanchez , 27 of Pasco has also been booked into Franklin County Jail for rendering criminal assistance in the second degree.
Court documents outline a timeline of what detectives believe happened.
It starts when 40-year-old Michelle Hudnall was last seen by her family on May 11th.
Three days later, is when witnesses tell detectives Michelle was likely killed.
Court documents say that day Michelle was riding in a van with Castillo and Lozano Jr.
The documents reveal Michelle said something that angered Castillo causing him to hit and choke her.
Investigators believe Lozano also took part.
Court documents say a witness told one of Michelle’s family members that Castillo killed her because she "wouldn't shut her mouth."
Documents reveal Michelle’s body was dumped hours after she was killed.
Sgt. Jamie Raebel says, "A witness to the disposal of the body was located and provided pertinent information to give us a clearer picture of Michelle’s disappearance."
The witness told detectives Michelle was dumped near a potato shed along the Columbia River.
Court documents allege those involved in disposing of the body burned their shoes and gloves to hide the evidence, and laid Michelle on a tarp with large rocks, rolling her into the river.
Detectives continue to investigate this case. Anyone with information that may assist in the investigation is asked to call (509) 545-3421.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the Hudnall family.