New Details Released in Case of Slain Houston Mother Found in Midland County

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - We're learning new details in the case of a missing Houston mother whose body was found in Midland County on Sunday.

Investigators made the discovery after the woman's ex-boyfriend confessed to the crime and told law enforcement where to find the body.

It's the call no family ever wants to get.

Nine days after 31-year-old Michelle Warner went missing, officials found the Houston mother's body eight hours away in a shallow grave in Midland County.

Police said Warner's ex-boyfriend, 37-year-old Mark Castellano confessed to the murder, saying the two had gotten into an argument. He's also the father of one of Warner's kids.

According to a press release, Castellano told detectives he left Warner's body in their apartment and drove to Odessa to leave their son with family.

He then went back to Houston, got the body and then drove back to Midland where he tried to bury her.

On Sunday, the Midland County Sheriff's Office got a tip from Houston homicide detectives about a possible body in the county.

"They gave us directions to a general area to where the body may be located," Sheriff Gary Painter said.

Painter said his deputies, mounted patrol, FBI investigators and the DPS chopper came to an oilfield site off Cotton Flat Rd and CR 150.

Around 6:30 Sunday evening, officials made the tragic discovery.

"One of the investigators located a body that was partially covered up in a semi grave," Painter said. "There was some soft sand in the area where the body was located."

Castellano did remain in contact with police while in West Texas. He agreed to fly back to Houston on Sunday for an interview.

Detectives were waiting for him at the airport and Castellano later confessed.

Warner's neck may have been broken but her body is being sent to the Harris County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy.

Meanwhile, NewsWest 9 spoke with Warner's mother, Donna Malone.

Although she declined a phone interview, she said her daughter was a great mother with a beautiful personality and an even bigger heart.

Malone said her daughter was also a musician who played the saxophone, the piano and she could also sing. A young mother whose life was cut short but her smile and voice will live on.

"My heart goes out to the family and I pray that the location of the body and finally getting it found will give some kind of peace and closure for the family," Painter said.