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Yakima murder trial: Son finds mother's burned body in backyard fire pit

Granger man on trial for murder, son recalls how he found his mother's remains

YAKIMA, Wash. - A young man described how he found his mother's body burning in a backyard fire pit as he testified Monday in the second-degree murder trial of his father in Yakima.

The father, Jaime Alejandre, is accused of killing his 37-year-old wife Maria Gonzalez-Castillo at their Granger home in June 2017.

Alejandre's oldest son, 20-year-old Manuel Alejandre, took the stand Monday in Yakima County Superior Court and talked about how his parents would fight and how money was tight for the family.

Manuel worked with his dad and said he would give his parents most of the money he earned.

He said when he woke up on June 2, 2017 he knew something was wrong when he couldn't find his mom or dad.

Manuel and his sister were trying to find their parents and Manuel searched their bedroom for clues.

"Pulling up the mattress and as soon as I did that, it was so bizarre," Manuel said. "I just saw pools of blood underneath it."

He said that's when he knew something bad had happened.

"In that very moment, I knew I'd lost my mom," he said.

The siblings called police and said they waited outside for the deputies, but then saw something burning in their backyard and said it was an unusual smell.

"One of the distinct things I remember is the smell of burning flesh," Manuel said. "That's what I can best describe that as, burning flesh."

Manuel said he then went over to the fire pit in their backyard to see what was burning.

"I just remember walking over and I see, see the remains," he said. "Something horrible that was taking place."

The Yakima County Sheriff's Office said they found Gonzalez-Castillo's remains in the burning pit in the backyard.

The autopsy stated she died from blunt force trauma to the head.

The state will continue their argument on Tuesday, the trial is expected to last two weeks.

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