PEABODY — Solanlly Paulino’s family said they begged her to leave her boyfriend, calling him an “obsessive” and “controlling” older man with a history of arrests for abusing and threatening her, but the 23-year-old could not quite pull herself away.
“He wouldn’t let go,” said Yolanda Paulino, Solanlly’s aunt.
On Thursday morning, they believe, their worst fears were realized. They said that Solanlly Paulino’s boyfriend, 43-year-old Franklin Castano, killed the young woman in the Peabody apartment where a family member said she believed the two were living.
“I told her that something like this might happen,” said Yolanda Paulino, standing on the front porch of Solanlly’s mother’s home in Lynn, where a steady stream of family poured in Thursday afternoon. “I never liked him. I told her that.”
According to the Essex district attorney’s office, Castano showed up Thursday morning at the Lynn police station, prompting a homicide investigation centering on an apartment at 50 Keys Drive in Peabody. He was charged in the killing, said the district attorney’s office, which did not name the victim.
An spokeswoman for the office declined to elaborate on what had transpired at the Police Department or whether Castano confessed. Paulino’s family said they were told that Castano “gave himself up.”
Solanlly Paulino was a lovely woman, who had hoped to become a model, said her aunt and cousin. She briefly served in the military, her aunt said, but it was not for her, and she left. She was recently working as a nanny and attending Salem State University.
Paulino met Castano about four or five years ago in a club, said Yolanda Paulino and Solanlly’s cousin, Crisniel Diaz, 26, and the relationship was tumultuous from the start.
Castano abused Paulino, said her family, and whenever she tried to leave him, he would hound her until she took him back.
“He was very persistent; he would look for her,” said Diaz. He would show up wherever she was and come to her mother’s house, added Paulino’s aunt.
Salem and Lynn District Court records show Castano was arrested twice on accusations of beating and threatening Paulino.
In December 2010, he was arrested in Salem after Paulino told police he hit her in the face with a door and cut her hands with a broken picture frame. According to the report, he said that he tried to get away from her during the fight and walked outside, but she followed him and fell at some point during the struggle. Castano sustained a cut during the fight.
Both were initially charged – Castano with one charge of assault and battery and two charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and Paulino with a single count of assault and battery – but the charges were dismissed after both asserted their Fifth Amendment rights, according to court documents.
In January 2012, he was arrested in Lynn and charged with assaulting Paulino with a machete and a butcher knife and threatening to kill her. According to the police report, police responding to a disturbance call at a Park Street apartment found Paulino with rug burn on her cheek, a fat lip, and scratches and red marks on her neck.
Paulino told police the fight started after a male friend gave her a hug during a party for her 21st birthday. Neither Paulino nor Castano explained what happened during the fight, according to the documents.
A friend of Paulino who witnessed the fight told police that Castano dragged Paulino across the floor by her hair, then pulled out “a large black sword” and said he would kill her. The friend said Castano then grabbed a butcher knife and threatened once again to kill Paulino, according to the documents.
Paulino posted a $500 cash bail for Castano two days after he was arrested, according to the documents, and the charges against him were ultimately dismissed.
On Thursday afternoon, private security guards blocked entrance to the Peabody apartment complex where authorities said the slaying occurred, and a man who identified himself as a manager declined to comment.
Paulino’s aunt and cousin said the woman’s mother was too distraught to speak with reporters. Police have not told them anything about the slaying, they said, and they could not imagine the circumstances that led to it.
“No idea, no idea,” said Yolanda Paulino.
In addition to arrests involving Paulino, court records also show that Castano was charged in 2010 with assaulting another woman in a Wendy’s restaurant in Salem, though that charge was also dismissed.
The woman in that case took out a restraining order that was scheduled to last about four months.
Court records show that Castano has a son.
Castano is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Peabody District Court.