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Suspect in Cleveland kidnappings helped neighbors look for missing girl


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His son, Anthony Castro, said in an interview with London’s Daily Mail newspaper that he now speaks with his father just a few times a year and seldom visited his house. He said on his last visit, two weeks ago, his father wouldn’t let him inside.

"The house was always locked," he said. "There were places we could never go. There were locks on the basement. Locks on the attic. Locks on the garage."

At a glance

Amanda Berry’s sister offers thanks, seeks privacy

The sister of Amanda Berry, one of the three women freed after being held captive for about a decade at an Ohio home, has made a brief statement saying the family is thankful for the community’s support but is asking for privacy.

Berry arrived at her sister’s house Wednesday morning.

Charges against the man who owns the home and his two brothers are expected to come Wednesday.

Hospital: 1 of 3 Ohio women in good condition

A Cleveland hospital says one of three women found alive in a house this week is now in good condition.

On Tuesday, Metro Health Medical Center had said Michelle Knight had been released. On Wednesday, a hospital spokeswoman said Knight was in good condition at the hospital. It’s not clear whether Knight was readmitted or if she actually never left the hospital.

The three women were rescued from captivity Monday. The other two were released from the same hospital Tuesday morning.

Police say Knight was the first of the three abducted in 2002.

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Anthony Castro, who lives in Columbus, also wrote an article for a community newspaper in Cleveland about the disappearance of Gina DeJesus just weeks after she went missing, when he was a college journalism student.

"That I wrote about this nearly 10 years ago — to find out that it is now so close to my family — it’s unspeakable," he told The Plain Dealer newspaper.

Most everyone in the neighborhood knew Ariel Castro.

Neighbors say he played bass guitar in salsa and merengue bands and gave neighborhood children rides on his motorcycle.

Tito DeJesus, an uncle of Gina DeJesus, played in bands with Castro over the last 20 years. He recalled visiting Castro’s house but never noticing anything out of the ordinary.

Juan Perez, who lives two doors down from the house, said Castro was always happy and respectful. "He gained trust with the kids and with the parents. You can only do that if you’re nice," Perez said.

Castro also worked until recently as a school bus driver.

He was friends with the father of Gina DeJesus, one of the missing women, and helped search for her after she disappeared, said Khalid Samad, a friend of the family.


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"When we went out to look for Gina, he helped pass out fliers," said Samad, a community activist who was at the hospital with DeJesus and her family on Monday night. "You know, he was friends with the family."

Antony Quiros said he was at the vigil about a year ago and saw Castro comforting Gina DeJesus’ mother.

One neighbor, Francisco Cruz, said he was with Castro the day investigators dug up a yard looking for the girls.

Castro told Cruz, "They’re not going to find anyone there," Cruz recalled.

Cleveland officials said an internal review of police communications records found that officers went to the house twice since 2000 on unrelated calls.

"Media reports of multiple calls to the Cleveland Police reporting suspicious activity and the mistreatment of women at 2207 Seymour are false," city spokeswoman Maureen Harper said in a statement.

Two neighbors said they called police to the Castro house on separate occasions.

Elsie Cintron, who lives three houses away, said her daughter saw a naked woman crawling in the backyard several years ago and called police. "But they didn’t take it seriously," she said.

Another neighbor, Israel Lugo, said he heard pounding on some of the doors of the house in November 2011. Lugo said officers knocked on the front door, but no one answered. "They walked to side of the house and then left," he said.

"Everyone in the neighborhood did what they had to do," said Lupe Collins, who is close to relatives of the women. "The police didn’t do their job."

Police did go to the house twice in the past 15 years, but not in connection with the women’s disappearance, officials said.

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