An active duty Marine stationed aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Oahu has been charged with second degree murder following the brutal stabbing of his ex-wife on Interstate H-3, the Marine Corps said.
Sgt. Bryant Tejeda-Castillo, 29, is being held on $1 million bail, according to the Honolulu Police Department. He remains in the custody of the Honolulu Police Department pending arraignment, the Marine Corps said.
Tejeda-Castillo, who enlisted in 2016 out of New York, is a rifleman assigned to 3rd Littoral Combat Team, 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment, the Marine Corps told Marine Corps Times in a Monday statement.
Dana Alotaibi, 27, was stabbed multiple times Wednesday as Tejeda-Castillo stood over her, witnesses claim.
“I ran there and told him to let her go,” George Schmidt told Hawaii News Now. “I just seen blood all over her, she was full of blood.”
Tejeda-Castillo then allegedly ran into a nearby wooded area before being apprehended by police.
Schmidt also saw Tejeda-Castillo harm himself, he told Hawaii News Now, matching police statements reporting that Tejeda-Castillo was taken to the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu following the attack.
Alotaibi was 13-weeks pregnant with her current boyfriend, friends and family told Hawaii News Now.
Police have not confirmed the pregnancy, awaiting the results of an autopsy report.
“Just [wanted everyone] to know my daughter had plans to come back to Virginia, make her life, live with her kid because she was pregnant, so we get everything ready for [when] she come back,” Natalia Cespedes said in an interview with KITV.
Alotaibi’s mother also told Hawaii News Now that her daughter repeatedly had faced abuse at the hands of Tejeda-Castillo and that she had a no contact order against him, but that military leadership still had not acted enough on her daughter’s cries for help.
“Probably because she’s a woman they don’t care, or she looked like [she was] crazy, they don’t care,” Cespedes said.
According to one of the YouTube videos posted by Alotaibi before her death documenting her relationship, she allegedly had suffered more than 30 incidences of abuse from Tejeda-Castillo ― including being choked to the point of unconsciousness and being repeatedly slapped.
She claimed in the video that reports made to his command largely went unanswered.
“I have had like maybe 30 situations of him putting his hands on me,” a tearful Alotaibi claimed in the Jan. 1, 2022, video. “Every time I report it to his command or his higher ups, nothing is being done, nothing at all.”
“Why is he so untouchable?”
Crying, Alotaibi claimed that every time she reported Tejeda-Castillo for abuse he would only be removed from the premises but never received paperwork, loss of rank or other disciplinary actions.
Marine Corps officials confirmed, however, that Tejeda-Castillo’s command was aware of the allegations made against him and had been actively addressing them.
“There were multiple instances where the Military Police at MCBH and Honolulu Police Department responded to domestic disputes both on MCBH and off base,” a 3rd Marine Division spokesperson told Marine Corps Times in a Monday email.
“Immediately following these reported instances, the command referred the Marine and his spouse to the Family Advocacy Program (FAP) for counselling and support. The command also issued no contact orders prohibiting Sgt. Tejeda-Castillo from contacting Ms. Alotaibi in any manner outside of supervised FAP services. The Marine’s command remained engaged with both the subject and the victim, responding to all reported allegations from Ms. Alotaibi.”
Tejeda-Castillo was disciplined in March for “violating those orders and for communicating a non-violent threat” to Alotaibi, the spokesperson said.
No further details were provided on the threat.
“The 3d Littoral Combat Team and Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH) continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement officials as their investigation continues,” the spokesperson said. “The Marine Corps extends its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of those involved.”
Tejeda-Castillo’s awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Letter of Appreciation two times, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal two times and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran and a master's candidate at New York University's Business & Economic Reporting program.