They seemed like a happy family — so stunned neighbors were in disbelief Thursday over word that Steven Castro, 40, was charged with killing his mom, Carmen Aponte, 66.
Aponte’s daughter discovered her mother’s body around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in her apartment in the Bronx.
Steven Castro was charged with murder later Wednesday.
Casto — who left his mother’s apartment on Seneca Ave. near Faile St. in Hunts Point about two hours before his sister arrived — tried to cover his tracks, a police source said.
“He texted her, ‘Are you at mom’s house? Because I was trying to reach her,’” the source said.
Police were at first unsure if Aponte had fell or if she was the victim of a crime, but soon determined she had been killed.
Castro, who was also hit with manslaughter and weapons possession charges, struck Aponte with a blunt object during a jealous rage, police sources said — but it was unclear what fueled the anger.
He is expected to be arraigned Thursday evening in Bronx Criminal Court.
Few were more shocked by the slaying than Zoila Castillo, who lived two floors above the doomed woman for more than 20 years.
“I never would expect it, never. It was like those remarkable families that you see— for so many years, they were the perfect family,” said Castillo, 47, said on Thursday, noting that Castro still frequently stopped by his mother’s place.
“The son, he was very nice. He was quiet, but very polite ... and he didn’t look disturbed,” she said. "They had a great relationship because he was with his mother all the time.
“I’m very confused, I would never expect this from him ... It’s like, how could this happen?”
Aponte’s next-door neighbor, a 50-year-old man, said he heard a woman shriek early Wednesday morning — and later deduced the cry came from the devastated daughter.
“[At first] my wife heard a thud,” said the man, who gave his name as J.P. “And a little while later…I heard the daughter scream.”
“They’re quiet people, kept to themselves, nothing ever seemed out of the norm,” he added. “We’re like a community, we know each other … I was pretty shocked, like wow, right next door.”
Aponte, who previously worked for the Department of Education as an school aide, retired last year.
“People in the community knew her,” said her neighbor, Lourdes Adams, 59. “[This] was a surprise to everybody here.”
With Wes Parnell and Michael Elsen-Rooney
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