Home is where Emmanuel Castillo’s dog is.
Castillo’s car was stolen with Leo in it from the parking lot of DiBella’s Subs in Milford around 5pm on Thursday. Castillo rushes to pick up the cell phone order and leaves his car running so Leo can use the air conditioning.
“When I found out that my car was gone, my heart immediately dropped. It was a very scary situation,” recalls Castillo.
His car, a blue 2022 Kia Forte, was recovered on Hallock Street in New Haven on Friday morning. Castillo focused on the area when creating flyers with Leo’s photo.
“If I saw someone walking down the street, I would get out of the car, hand them a leaflet and ask if they could share the information and keep an eye on them,” he said.
Castillo told News 12 that she received a call later that day from a woman who requested anonymity. I sent it with
“When I saw the picture, I was relieved that it was Leo. I knew it was him right away,” Castillo said.
Castillo and his family immediately went to the address the caller had given him, but a woman living there claimed to have paid Leo $500, the reward listed on the flyer. He said he wanted
“The tension started to build. There was an argument because it was clear these people didn’t want to let Leo go without seeing something,” he said. To avoid problems, his family gave her $500 to bring Leo back.
“Leo met my father and he was instantly, you know, happy. My mother got out of the car crying, but it was a great moment,” Castillo said. recalls.
He told News 12 that he doesn’t believe the woman’s story, but wants to get out of there with Leo as soon as possible.
Once home, Leo is quieter and follows his family everywhere, says Castillo.
“He’s definitely spoiled and he’s definitely taking safety precautions from now on.” Castillo said he would never leave Leo in the car again, even for 30 seconds. He plans to implant a microchip in Leo as well, and is considering a smart collar with GPS tracking. He called the whole experience “an eye-opener.”
“The world we live in is crazy. You can’t trust anyone,” Castillo said.
However, he added that there are some good people out there, like those who shared Leo’s story on social media and helped find him.
“I am so grateful to all the community,” Castillo told News 12. Without them, his home in Seymour wouldn’t be home.