Since September 14, 2008, the 21-year-old was last seen or heard from.
Two sisters from Arizona wondered what they could do more to find their brother Adam, who was missing since 2008, at the height of the 2020 pandemic.
Even though they didn’t use social media much, Adriana Castillo, and Cassandra Leon told Dateline they knew it was the best way to spread the news about Adam’s disappearance.
They hoped to find answers along the way.
Ariana first saw a video on Sarah Turney’s TikTok account when she opened the app. The Phoenix native started using the platform to seek justice in her sister’s disappearance in 2001. Her videos on the case became viral and Michael Turney, her stepfather was charged with Alissa’s murder in 2001.
Adriana stated, “I was inspired to do everything she was doing for justice for her sister.” “I knew that I had to do the exact same thing for Adam.”
So they created the @JusticeforAdamCastillo TikTok account and prayed someone would come forward with answers. Adam’s story was shared on two podcasts: The Vanished podcast and Voices for Justice podcast. Sarah Turney created these podcasts to share her sister’s story as well as the stories of other vanished people.
Dateline was told by Cassandra that they are doing all they can to tell his story. We need to tell his story. We need someone to speak up. Someone out there has information about what happened that night.
This night began on September 13, 2008, 13 years ago. Adam was 21 years old when he lived in Willcox (Arizona) with his parents and his two younger sisters. His brothers, Adam and Cassandra, were now grown and have moved away. Cassandra, his sister, lived in California.
Adriana shared with Dateline that the siblings were close and they spent a lot time together. She can still remember playing Guitar Hero with Adam and learning how to skateboard.
She said that her father was a huge skater, and that’s how she got into it. He was the one person I could really go to if I had a problem or was just unhappy. He would be a good brother to me and tell me that I was stronger than any problem I was facing.
His sisters stated that Adam was going through a difficult time in the fall. He was at a station pumping diesel fuel and he had just split up with his girlfriend when she went off to college.
Adam’s sister Cassandra had previously moved to California and told Dateline that she tried to convince him to go there. To start from scratch.
She said, “I thought it would benefit him.” “Last I spoke with him, he was thinking seriously about it. I wish I could have brought him here before all of this — before he disappeared. He was gone, but he was there.”
Dateline has been provided a Cochise County Sheriff’s Office file that shows Adam Castillo was last seen around 2 AM Sunday, September 14th 2008 just outside Willcox. He was at a party near the Blue Sky Road (locally known as “the loop”), according to Dateline.
The loop was home to approximately 25 partygoers that night. Adam was the only one who didn’t make it home.
Adam’s sister Adriana, and Eden, his youngest sister, had intended to attend the same party. Adam was invited to join them in order to cheer him up and get out of his house.
Adam, his sisters and their mother waited at Willcox for their ride. Adam was so dissatisfied that he decided to stay home. Adam was playing video games with his siblings when Adam’s friends arrived and convinced him to go. According to his sisters, he was so quick that he forgot his phone and wallet.
Adam’s sisters were too small for the car and their ride didn’t show up so they decided to stay at home. They discovered their brother’s belongings had been left behind hours later. Adriana called Levi, the friend that had picked Adam up for the party. She claimed that Levi had told her that he and a friend had to go back, but that he had dropped Adam at the party.
Adriana stated that she felt sick in her stomach. It didn’t make any sense at the moment. Adam would return home very soon, I thought. Or he would find a way for me to call. However, something was not right this time.
Dateline was told by Adam’s sisters that Adam would always check in to his parents no matter how late he stays out.
Adriana laughed and said, “He was a mama’s boy.” He would not want her to worry. He would call her and say he was leaving that place and that time and when he’d return. But not this time.”
Adriana claimed that she was outside when the truck drove up to their home on Sunday morning. Gary, Adam’s friend was one of the men in the truck.
She said, “At first, I thought, Oh, good Adam’s home.'” “But then, I saw Gary. His nose and chin were all burnt. Again, I felt sick. It was like something had happened.”
Adriana’s first question was to Gary: “Where’s your brother?”
She said, “I was shocked.” “I remember that I kept repeating, “No, he is with you.” My brother is with you. “What do you mean?
She stated that Gary looked at her strangely and stopped.
“He said to me, “Well, if your sister comes home, tell him thanks. Adriana said that he might have saved her life. “At that point, I lost my life. My brother was the victim of an accident. I ran inside to tell my parents. He was missing.”
Adriana claimed that her parents visited the scene of the party, and found remnants from a bonfire and beer cans scattered about. There was no evidence of Adam, or foul play.
Later, partygoers would reveal that Gary had suffered burns from the bonfire. There were conflicting reports at the time that investigators received. These are detailed in Adam’s case file. They concern whether Adam fell in or was pushed. Rumours began to circulate about Adam’s disappearance within hours.
According to the case file, some partygoers claim that he was seen leaving the party with an unidentified girl riding in a Honda. Some claim he was killed due to a drug dispute. Other disturbing stories are detailed in the case file. One story describes Gary being pushed into a bonfire by his friend because he owed money to someone. Adam pulled him out and saved his life. He was then allegedly killed.
His family would tell many more stories, but they remained focused on finding Adam. On Monday, Adam disappeared. His family filed a missing person report with the Cochise County Sheriff’s Department.
Carol Capas, spokesperson for Cochise County Sheriff’s Department, told Dateline that police conducted extensive searches at the location where the party was held but found no trace of Adam. They interviewed all partygoers and received conflicting reports. These are detailed in the 78 page case file.
Three men were identified in the case file as being “investigative leads”. They were interviewed previously, but no arrests were made. Capas stated that details of possible suspects couldn’t be released because of the open investigation.
Family members believe that the men were involved in Adam’s disappearance or have some knowledge of what happened.
Adam’s parents have been searching for their son for over a decade. Adam’s mother, armed with missing posters and a penchant for handing them out to anyone in Willcox, has been able to give them away.
Cassandra stated that “we had to reel in her a little because she was taking a toll.” “There are people living in that area who know the fate of Adam. They’re too afraid to speak up.”
Their mother underwent open heart surgery in 2020. She finally had to slow down her search for answers. Her daughters stepped in.
Ariana stated that “We just knew that we had to do it.” “Maybe someone on TikTok sees his story and wants to help. They might have the tip we need.
Adam has had multiple investigators on his case. Every time they think they have an answer, the family is optimistic.
Cassandra said that her mother would pray each time for Adam to be found. “She said, “Bring Adam home to us.”
According to his sisters, Adam was loved not only by his family but also his friends and community.
Adriana laughed and said, “He was always the life of the party.” He was known for his showmanship, which included handstands and back flips. He was the cool guy everyone wanted to hang out. He loved to have a good time with people and make them laugh.
The family claims that Sergeant Tal Parker has assumed the case but has not been in touch with them. Capas informed Dateline that the case was transferred to Sergeant. John Gjerde, Capas said that the case has been transferred to Sgt.
She said that she appreciated [Dateline]’s much-needed exposure to the case and that they would hope to see some movement as a result.
Dateline was informed by the family that they were happy with this update. They also look forward to hearing from investigators as they work together to bring Adam home.
Carol Capas, spokesperson for Cochise County Sheriff’s Department, told Dateline Adam’s case was an open and active case that’s currently being investigated. She encouraged the public to contact the sheriff’s department with any information that might help in the case.
Willcox is small and many locals have heard about Adam’s story. However, Dateline hears from his sisters that they often get confused reactions from the public when their brothers are still missing.
Adriana stated that they believe Adam’s body has been found many years ago, or that the case was solved already. They didn’t know that we are still living this nightmare. It’s like a horror film. You never imagine it will happen. It happened to us.”
She stated that Adams’ fate is the most difficult part.
She said, “We need answers, and we just want him to come home.” It won’t make the situation better but it will bring some peace and closure.
Adam was 21 years old when he vanished. He had brown eyes, and his hair was short. His forearm is at least three inches in length, while his right side has a scar at his back.
Anybody with information regarding Adam’s case should call the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office on 520-803-3280.