People say James Castria was the sweetest preacher ever. But police say he was also deadly. The story of Rev. James Castria and his congregants, Lowell and Susan Engel, who were murdered by their pastor for money, will make the cut for the latest Killer Clergy. The true-crime documentary series focuses on murders that have been committed by the most diabolical preachers, pastors, or reverends. The Killer Clergy episode profiling Reverend James Castria is called, "Highway to Hell." In this shocking account of murder, listen in as New Jersey and Pennsylvania police detectives discuss solving the case.
Sweet Preacher, Deadly Gospel
James Castria wasn't making much money as a pastor at the Faith Gospel Church in Clifton, New Jersey, but he was well-liked by most of the members of his congregation. However, Castria became a prime suspect in the investigation of two elderly people who vanished into thin air. Authorities say Lowell and Susan Engel disappeared from their retirement home community in Staten Island in January 1995. They were last seen getting into a black car.
Concerned family members of the Engels knew immediately that something was wrong since their medication was still found inside their apartment.
Police learned that Lowell Engel and Susan Engel had grown close to their preacher, whom they referred to as Reverend Jimmy. Reverend Jimmy was 45-year-old James S. Castria. A look into the couple's finances and bank records showed that James Castria was a co-signer on their accounts and had used around $40,000 of Lowell and Susan Engels' money to purchase a beautiful home. It was stated that the Engels were under the impression that they would be moving and staying into the new home with the good pastor.
Susan Engel had inherited over $80,0000 from a family member. Somehow, James Castria convinced them to trust in him enough to see after their finances. But authorities say that it was all part of a bigger plan to swindle 68-year-old Lowell Engel and 50-year-old Susan Engel out of their cash.