COLUMBUS (WCMH) — On August 23, 2018 as Donna Castleberry lay dying from 3 gunshot wounds in Columbus Police vice squad officer Andrew Mitchell’s unmarked police car, Mitchell was already the subject of an internal investigation born from a citizen complaint.
More than 6-months later, Castleberry’s mother Michelle Dalton is exhausted but hopeful.
“Hell. It’s been hell,” she said.
In the time since the 23-year-old died, ‘Justice For Donna’ rallies have seen modest crowds grow, intensifying October 23rd at Columbus Police headquarters, an internal affairs review of Vice and Mitchell expand to an FBI probe in late September of last year, and Federal Investigators indict Mitchell. Mitchell’s charges were spelled out in a Monday news conference that Castleberry’s sister Bobbi McCalla is familiar with.
“I’ve watched it 3 times,” said McCalla.
But one name was noticeably absent.
“They were really hesitant to speak my sister’s name. They didn’t want to say Donna Castleberry too much in there so I don’t know what that could mean,” McCalla wondered.
McCalla is still hopeful that answers in her sister’s case, like why Mitchell was alone with Castleberry, why he shot and killed her and how well the 2 knew each other, will save lives.
“I certainly hope that no woman has to go through what the victims of Andrew Mitchell have went through. I’m afraid that it took my sister losing her life for him to be held accountable but hopefully he will be held accountable,” she said.
And for Michelle Dalton, the pain of rehashing memories may provide temporary relief but not soon enough for 23-year-old Donna Castleberry.
“She was a good mom, she was a great daughter and it’s sad that we’re not going to have that anymore. He took that away from us and he needs to pay for it,” said Dalton.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien announced he will present the Castleberry case to a grand jury within the next month.