PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - An undocumented immigrant, serving time for a sex crime against a 13-year-old girl, has been discovered working unsupervised at the home of West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Mike Cazes. A van owned by West Baton Rouge Parish was also found at the sheriff’s home.
Both were discovered during an undercover investigation by WAFB.
The inmate, Elmer Castillo, 32, was accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl inside her Baton Rouge home, according to the arrest warrant. The victim told police Castillo pulled her underwear down and penetrated her, the warrant says.
When Castillo was confronted about the allegations in 2014, he fled and was not arrested until three years later. An East Baton Rouge Parish jury convicted him of sexual battery in 2018.
The inmate was sentenced to five years of hard labor and put in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections (DOC). As part of his sentencing, he was ordered to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.
Sheriff Cazes told WAFB Lead Investigative Reporter Kiran Chawla by phone Monday he hired Castillo to do work at his home in Port Allen and was personally paying him for the work. The sheriff says he was using the parish van to “haul some furniture." DOC spokesman, Ken Pastorick, says the inmate, Castillo, was assigned to the West Baton Rouge Work Release Program to do work at the facility itself, but was not supposed to be sent out into the community. DOC says it had no idea Castillo was working at the sheriff’s home until the 9News Investigators alerted them. The agency’s spokesperson says it would never give approval for that to take place.
“When we place inmates in the care of other entities, we expect the people who are housing our inmates to follow the laws governing the housing of inmates,”Pastorick said.
Pastorick says the inmate was moved to a state prison in another parish Monday, Mar. 11 at the request of the sheriff.
The inmate was discovered at the sheriff’s home Friday, Mar. 8 when, acting on a tip, members of the WAFB Investigative Team spent nearly six hours staked out near the sheriff’s home.
Castillo was observed working unsupervised in the sheriff’s yard, including hauling trash from the backyard to garbage cans in the front of the home. Also during that time, a school bus pulled up and the driver let out a young boy and girl who live in a nearby home. Members of the 9News Investigative Team approached Castillo and asked him if he was working for the sheriff. “Yes,” he replied. When asked if he knew where the sheriff was, Castillo said he did not know. No one answered when our team knocked on the front door of the sheriff’s home Friday, but his wife was home at the time. She was spotted by our team multiple times earlier in the day coming and going from the home and taking the family’s dog for a walk. Cazes gave a few brief details to WAFB by phone Monday morning and agreed to an on-camera interview Monday afternoon. However, Cazes canceled the interview shortly before it was set to begin.
Meanwhile, Pastorick says they have launched an investigation into how this happened. It comes as West Baton Rouge Assistant District Attorney Tony Clayton says he and DA Ricky Ward were also looking into the case.
More than half of Louisiana’s state inmates are housed at parish or local jails due to a lack of space in state prisons. Those facilities are paid $24.39 per day to house those inmates. As of Monday afternoon, the DOC says 430 state inmates were being housed in West Baton Rouge Parish.