A woman in Shelbyville, Kentucky shot and killed her own granddaughter before pulling the trigger on herself in an apparent murder-suicide on Monday. Police say that the grandmother had died by the time they arrived at the scene, while her 14-year-old granddaughter died at a nearby hospital.
Fourteen-year-old Aurelia Castillo was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth and her grandmother, 58-year-old Julia Cash-Owens, had raised her. Also, Aurelia wasn’t the only kid with special needs that Cash-Owens had been taking care of. Her second grandchild, Julian Castillo, was diagnosed with autism, and she had taken upon herself to raise him as well. On Monday, the 58-year-old shot her granddaughter then committed suicide in the family’s one-story house in Shelbyville, Kentucky, Washington Post reports.
Everyone who knew Cash-Owens describe her as the ideal grandmother. Even her Facebook feed seems to hint at this, with photos of her with her grandchildren present all around. According to her daughter-in-law Chanda Fowler, Julia had too much on her plate and it seemed unfair to her that her mother-in-law was suddenly being portrayed as a murderer.
“She was exhausted. She was doing so much, and it’s just unfair for her to be characterized as a murderer.”
Here is a photo posted by Cash-Owens on her Facebook page around five months ago of a trip she had taken with her granddaughter Aurelia.
Cash-Owens’ daughter reportedly had a series of personal problems, which is why she had taken upon herself to look after her grandchildren. Both of Cash-Owens’ grandchildren had special needs. Aurelia needed a wheelchair to get around and a service dog in order to alert the family members of oncoming seizures. And it was incredibly hard to potty train Julian, or to feed him. He would reportedly throw fits if asked to eat anything other than string cheese or pop tarts.
Here is a photo of Aurelia with her brother Julian, posted by Cash-Owen on her Facebook page:
The autopsy of the bodies was conducted on Tuesday. The Police are currently conducting further investigation and the motive behind the murder has not yet been made public. Cash-Owens has a degree in juvenile justice and decades of experience in social work. While on paper she seemed like the perfect candidate to take care of her grandchildren, things eventually took a darker turn.