Parents sending their children to college do not expect the tragic news that came upon the Cantor family on October 16, 1998. Courtney Cantor was a freshman at the University of Michigan and her future looked bright and promising. A freak accident would take her life and the university came under scrutiny for the role alcohol plays in the life of its students.
On October 15, Cantor went out with her friends to a fraternity party. At this party new pledges were carried into the basement and sprayed with champagne. Also in the basement was a keg of beer.
Cantor danced with a member of the fraternity and eventually moved from the basement to the second floor. Throughout the evening Cantor was seen drinking beer and champagne and commented to a friend that she was drunk.
Cantor was 19, two years below the legal limit to drink alcohol. Being underage does not stop most underage college students from drinking however.
At 2:15 a.m., Cantor went into a bathroom where she vomited. She left the bathroom and was leaning against a wall where several people asked her if she was o.k. and she stated she was. Cantor left the party with her friend, calling a Blue Cab to take her to her dorm room at Mary Markley Hall.
Several people saw her at the dorm and said she appeared to be fine, although slightly intoxicated. She stopped by a male friend's room, where she left a note on the outside of the door stating, “Matt, I came by to say hi. Courtney.”
She then returned to her sixth floor dorm room and woke up her roommate who was sleeping in their loft. Her roommate later told detectives from the University of Michigan Public Safety Department that Cantor was clumsy as she climbed the ladder to the loft knocking over some flowers sitting on a windowsill. The roommate went back to sleep and did not have any other contact with Cantor. What happened next will always remain a mystery.
At 5:00 a.m., a worker at the university found Cantor's lifeless body, dressed in her green night shirt and shorts, lying face down on the concrete sidewalk below her dorm window. Cantor had inexplicably fell from her dorm window to her death below.
An investigation into her death quickly ensued as the community was shocked by the circumstances. As there were no witnesses to the fall, investigators could only speculate as to what had caused her to fall from the small window. The window itself measured only 30″x36″, but Cantor had a very small frame which enabled her to fit through it.
Detectives interviewed Cantor's roommate and found that she had no involvement at all and in fact had not even heard anything suspicious. Theories abounded such as that Cantor was pushed, committed suicide or was vomiting out the window when she fell. Detectives examined these theories in detail and could find no evidence whatsoever to suggest they were true.
The investigation then shifted to Cantor's loft and the position of the ladder near the window. In the end it was believed that Cantor somehow accidentally fell through the window as she was climbing the ladder to get into bed or fell from the loft itself. The accident was unbelievably tragic and a fluke one.
During the investigation it was found that Cantor had been illegally supplied alcohol at the party and the autopsy results revealed that her blood alcohol level was .059%. It also found that she had traces of the illegal drug GHB in her system. The body itself produces small amounts of GHB and it could not be determined if she voluntarily ingested the drug, if someone placed it in her drink, or if the trace amount was produced by her body. GHB is commonly referred to as the date rape drug as numerous females have been raped after the drug has been slipped into their drinks. This drug causes the victim to pass out, making them very vulnerable to their attackers.
As the investigators found that the drinking had occurred at the fraternity, it was quickly disbanded by the university. Numerous members of the fraternity were charged with misdemeanor alcohol violations for their role in hosting the party. The lengthy investigation itself concluded that Cantor's death was accidental.
Murder Suspect Flees Country
Early Sunday morning on November 16, 1998, two brothers, Roberto and Luis Rueda, paid a visit to the apartment of Milton Castillio, a recent immigrant to the country from Guatemala. The two were allowed into the apartment by Castillio, an acquaintance of the brothers. The three had been reported to have been involved in an argument 10 days prior to this November day.
At the end of the visit, the two Rueda brothers would be found dead, both of gunshot wounds and Castillio nowhere to be found. As there were no witnesses to the crime, investigators had to surmise what had occurred.
One theory was that the brothers went to Castillio's apartment to confront him on the earlier incident and ended up being murdered. Another was that Castillio acted in self-defense as the brothers confronted him.
Only Castillio could provide the answers that investigators were looking for. A nationwide alert was given out for Castillio's arrest in the crime and the focus moved to the east coast where he had family. This hunch turned out correct as Castillio's vehicle was found outside of Baltimore. Police there had just missed arresting Castillio, who had fled just prior to their arrival. Castillio's next move was unknown and investigators were left with little clues as to where he would go.
The prosecutor's office issued a warrant for Castillio's arrest for the murders of the Rueda brothers. The F.B.I. was asked to seek a federal fugitive warrant for Castillio's arrest as it was apparent he had fled the state.
On February 17, 1999, the hunt for Castillio took an unexpected turn. After the killings of the Rueda brothers, Castillio fled to his homeland, Guatemala. Investigators found Castillio in a Guatemalan prison, where he had been arrested for a murder which he allegedly committed in October of 1992. It appears that Castillio was on the run from the murder charge in Guatemala, when he came to America. He would later flee America under the same circumstances.
While sharing an extradition treaty with the United States, the Guatemalan authorities retained custody of Castillio, to face murder charges in that country.