But time and time again, she returned to Castano, despite at least two instances of domestic violence.
That’s not an uncommon scenario, say domestic violence experts. Nor is the murder of a woman just as she is ready to leave her abuser.
“It is a very dangerous time, and that is why a lot of our work focuses on safety planning,” said Anthony DiPietro, executive director of Salem-based Healing Abuse Working for Change, or HAWC.
According to a police report, Castano showed up at around 9 a.m. Thursday at the Lynn police station with two friends, who said Castano had confessed to them that he’d killed Paulino.
Within minutes, Peabody police arrived at the apartment complex, which is across from the Northshore Mall. Detective Robert Church went to the management office and spoke to the same employee, asking for a key; she told him about her conversation with Paulino.
At the apartment, Church, Sgt. David Bonfanti and Patrolman Richard Cameron immediately noticed the odor of an air freshener. Someone had lighted scented candles and incense, possibly to mask the odor of Paulino’s body.
After looking through several rooms, they spotted Paulino, face down on a love seat, her head covered with a towel and a shell casing on the floor nearby. She had suffered at least one gunshot wound to her right temple.
There were signs of a struggle in the room, described as a dining area and den, including a lamp that was knocked over and what may have been defensive injuries to Paulino’s hand.
They also found a pair of latex gloves and another pair of black leather gloves on a table nearby.
No gun was found.
Castano, who spoke briefly with police but then invoked his right to an attorney, allegedly told officers he’d tossed the gun out the window of Paulino’s 2013 Volkswagen Passat, which he’d used to flee the scene, as he passed the South Congregational Church. The church is just outside the entrance to the apartment complex and also houses a preschool.