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Mark Castellano murdered girlfriend Michelle Chaffin and buried her in a Texas oil field: American Monster investigates

Mugshot of Mark Castellano
Mark Castellano murdered his girlfriend, Michelle Chaffin, when he snapped her neck while they argued. Pic credit: Houston Police Dept

This week on American Monster, the team profiles the case of Mark Castellano, who tried to get away with murder after killing Michelle Chaffin in Houston, Texas, in 2012.

On September 22, 2012, Chaffin, sometimes known as Michelle Warner, argued with her boyfriend, Castellano, in the bedroom of their apartment.

The argument culminated in Castellano choking the single mother of two children and snapping her neck. He then stored her remains in a plastic container and drove across Texas to bury her body in a shallow grave in an oil field.

Michelle Chaffin’s family grew concerned when she failed to show up at her ex-husband’s house for a pre-scheduled visit with her daughter.

When her brother and father questioned current boyfriend, Castellano, he told them they had argued, and she had stormed out of the house, leaving her car and son, and said she had seemed “strung out.”

A search for Michelle ensued, but as time went by, her family began to feel more and more frustrated.

TV’s Dr. Phil even got involved in the case; he interviewed Castellano and was due to talk to Michelle’s brother and mother on the day her body was discovered in an oil field in Midland, Texas.

Michelle’s body was very badly decomposed, but the medical examiner was able to make identification through fingerprint analysis.

Mark Castellano confessed to murdering Michelle Chaffin

A few days later, Mark Castellano telephoned the producers at Dr. Phil’s show and told them he had choked Michelle to death.

In an interview with police, he subsequently told them he’d accidentally killed Michelle. He also said to them, “I didn’t really try to hide her. I’m surprised you all haven’t found her already.”

At his trial, in 2014, Castellano tried to claim that he’d killed Michelle in self-defense; however, the jury didn’t buy his lies, and he was found guilty of murder. He was sentenced to 27 years in prison and fined $10,000.

More from American Monster

Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on American Monster.

Donnie Rudd murdered his teenage bride, Noreen Kumeta, in 1973 and blamed it on a car crash. He got away with it for an incredible 45 years before the law finally caught up to him.

Teenager Tracie Miles was angered when her mother, Sandy Miles, disapproved of her relationship with her new boyfriend, Paul Nelson. She was so angry that she hatched a plan with Nelson to murder her mom and flee to Mexico.

American Monster airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.


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