Whatever drove a Maryland man to apparently kill his three young children in a Baltimore hotel last weekend might never be fully understood. The explanation police say Mark Castillo, 41, offered them – that he wanted to punish his estranged wife -is typical in cases of men killing their children, say experts consulted by the Baltimore Sun. “Most of the time, when men kill children, it’s to get back at the women, sort of out of vengeance,” said Dr. Neil Blumberg, a forensic psychiatrist. “Usually they’re depressed, they’re angry, but this is the way they can hurt their children’s mother.” At least three other cases in Maryland over the past year appear to fit this profile.
Though men who kill their children may have an underlying personality disorder, they are usually sufficiently in touch with reality to understand what they are doing, Blumberg said. Castillo told police that he drowned the children, 6, 4, and 2 years old, in a bathtub in response to a bitter custody battle with his wife, Dr. Amy Castillo. He had been diagnosed with narcissistic personalty disorder, a condition that can cause a person to become preoccupied with himself. On Christmas Day 2006, Amy Castillo alleged in court papers, her husband had threatened to kill their three children as a way of punishing her. Though they tend to capture headlines, killings of children by their parents are uncommon. FBI data for 2006 say that 462 of the 14,990 homicides for which an offender was identified fell into this category. Perpetrators are split evenly among men and women.