Modern technology helps Miramar detective identify body in cold case from 1988

MIRAMAR, Florida. – A corpse recovered more than 30 years ago has finally been identified, putting an end to a family that has been searching for answers for decades.

All of this is thanks to an international database of missing persons, a fingerprint and a detective from the Miramar Police Department.

It was November 1988 when police announced that 30-year-old Jorge Coste-Castillo was driving his best friend from New York to Miramar to buy horses.

While his friend returned to New York, Coste-Castillo never did.

“He just disappeared from one day to the next,” said Yulissa Costa, Coste-Castillo’s daughter. “They make up stories. In 30 years we’ve seen him here, he did that, he did that. And it was all a lie. “

Costa was just 11 months old when her father disappeared.

Now in her thirties, she has spent most of her life wondering where her father was or what happened to him.

Until an unexpected call from an FBI agent in the Dominican Republic, her father’s birthplace.


That call then led to a call from a police detective in Miramar who was working on her father’s case and told her that her father had been found.

“I’m relieved,” said Costa. “I think we all are.”

Coste-Castillo’s body was discovered 33 years ago in a canal south of Miramar Parkway on Southwest 148th Avenue.

“He had no ID at all, no wallet, no ID,” said Miramar Police Det. Jonathan Zeller. “Because of the advances in modern technology, I decided to give it a try and try to identify it, and I was successful. It had to do with a fingerprint. “

Zeller said he made contact with Coste-Castillo’s best friend, who unfortunately does not cooperate.

“I don’t have enough evidence that he actually killed our victim here,” said Zeller.

But what Zeller did is give this family the degree they were looking for.

“He has his own tombstone,” said Costa. “We know where he is, we can visit him.”


While the Coste-Castillo identification was an important development and a major breakthrough, the case itself is still pending.

Anyone with information about the killing is urged to contact the Miramar Police.

Costa said Detective Zeller will always have a special place in her heart.

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