WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana State Police confirmed Thursday morning they have opened an investigation into an inmate found working unsupervised at the home of West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Mike Cazes.
“The Louisiana State Police is currently investigating and our findings will be turned over to the District Attorney upon completion,” said Louisiana State Police Captain J.B. Slaton.
The Department of Corrections initially launched an investigation following the discovery. As of Thursday, April 4, that investigation has ended unless new evidence emerges. Findings from the DOC’s investigation have been handed over to State Police.
An undercover investigation by WAFB-TV found the inmate, an illegal immigrant serving time for a sex crime against a 13-year-old girl, doing chores at the sheriff’s home last month.
A van owned by West Baton Rouge Parish was also found at the sheriff’s home.
The inmate, Elmer Castillo, was accused of consensual sex with a 13-year-old girl inside her Baton Rouge home, according to an 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 less than six months ago 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 that he hired Castillo, 32, 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. The DOC says it had no idea Castillo was working at the sheriff’s home and the agency says it would never given 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.
Castillo was moved to a state prison in another parish at the request of the sheriff after WAFB starting asking questions, Pastorick said.
The inmate was discovered at the sheriff’s home 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 back yard 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 lived 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 that he did not know.
No one answered when our team knocked on the front door of the sheriff’s home although 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 dog for a walk.
Cazes initially agreed to an interview with WAFB about the situation but later cancelled.
More than half of Louisiana 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.