September 26, 2022

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Modern technology helps Miramar detective identify body in cold case from 1988

MIRAMAR, Fla. – A body recovered more than 30 years ago has finally been identified, bringing closure to a family that has been searching for answers for decades.

It’s all thanks to an international missing persons database, a fingerprint, and a detective at the Miramar Police Department.

It was in November of 1988 when police said 30-year-old Jorge Coste-Castillo took a trip from New York down to Miramar with his best friend to purchase horses.

While his friend returned to New York, Coste-Castillo never did.

“He just vanished from one day to another,” said Yulissa Costa, Coste-Castillo’s daughter. “They would make up stories. Within the 30 years, we saw him here, he was doing that, he was doing this. And it was all a lie.”

Costa was just 11 months old when her father disappeared.

Now in her 30′s, she has spent nearly her entire life wondering where her father was, or what happened to him.

That is until an unexpected phone call from an FBI agent in the Dominican Republic, her father’s birthplace.

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That call then led to a call from a Miramar police detective working her father’s case, who told her that her father had been found.

“I am relieved,” Costa said. “I think we all are.”

Coste-Castillo’s body was discovered in a canal just south of Miramar Parkway on Southwest 148th Avenue 33 years ago.

“There was no identification on him at all, no wallet, no ID,” said Miramar Police Det. Jonathan Zeller. “Because of the advancements in modern technology that we have, I decided to give it a shot and tried to get him identified and I was successful. It had to do with a fingerprint.”

Zeller said he made contact with Coste-Castillo’s best friend who unfortunately is failing to cooperate.

“I don’t have enough evidence to show that he actually killed our victim here,” said Zeller.

But what Zeller has done is provide this family with the closure they have been searching for.

“He has his own grave marker,” said Costa. “We know where he is, we can go visit him.”

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While identifying Coste-Castillo was a major development and big break, the case itself is still pending.

Anyone with any information about the killing is urged to contact the Miramar Police Department.

As for Costa, she said that Detective Zeller will always hold a special place in her heart.

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