Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
FILE - This Aug. 1, 2013 file photo shows Ariel Castro in the courtroom during the sentencing phase in Cleveland. Castro, who held 3 women captive for a decade, has committed suicide, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, file)
Ohio man who held 3 women captive hangs himself
First Published Sep 04 2013 07:21 am • Last Updated Sep 04 2013 03:36 pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio • The Cleveland man serving a life sentence for holding three women captive in his home for a decade hanged himself in his prison cell with a bedsheet, officials said Wednesday in another shocking twist in the case that transfixed and appalled the city.

Ariel Castro, 53, was found hanging Tuesday night at the state prison in Orient, said JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for the corrections system. Prison medical staff performed CPR before Castro was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"He took the coward’s way out," said Elsie Cintron, a neighbor who lived up the street from the former school bus driver. "We’re sad to hear that he’s dead, but at the same time, we’re happy he’s gone, and now we know he can’t ask for an appeal or try for one if he’s acting like he’s crazy."

Through a spokeswoman, his three victims declined to comment.

Castro was sentenced Aug. 1 to life in prison plus 1,000 years after pleading guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping and rape, in a deal to avoid the death penalty. At his sentencing, he told the judge: "I’m not a monster. I’m sick."

A scornful Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said: "This man couldn’t take, for even a month, a small portion of what he had dished out for more than a decade."

Castro had been in a cell by himself in protective custody because of his notoriety, meaning he was checked every 30 minutes, but was not on a suicide watch, which entails constant supervision, Smith said. She said Castro used a bedsheet.

An autopsy showed the death was suicide by hanging, said Dr. Jan Gorniak, Franklin County coroner.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio asked the prison system to conduct a full investigation.

Castro’s captives — Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight — disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old.


story continues below
story continues below

They were rescued from Castro’s run-down house in a tough Cleveland neighborhood on May 6 when Berry broke out a screen door and yelled to neighbors.

Elation over the women’s rescue turned to shock as details emerged about their captivity. Castro fathered a child with Berry while she was being held. The girl was 6 when she was freed.

Investigators also disclosed that the women were bound with chains, repeatedly raped and deprived of food and bathroom facilities. Knight told authorities that Castro impregnated her repeatedly and made her miscarry by starving her and punching her in the belly. Berry was forced to give birth in a plastic kiddie pool.

On Castro’s old street Wednesday, freshly planted landscaping was in bloom on the site where his house stood before it was demolished by the city a month ago. Satellite TV trucks returned to record the scene.

Castro’s suicide "does give a little bit of closure to the families and people that got affected by what he did," resident Jessica Burchett said, "but at the same time he deserved to be in there for his life because of what he did to those girls."

No one answered the door at the home of Castro’s mother and brother.

His lawyers tried unsuccessfully to have a psychological examination of Castro done in jail before he was turned over to state authorities following his guilty plea, his attorney, Jaye Schlachet, said Wednesday. Schlachet would not comment further.

Members of the Guardian Angels volunteer patrol group stationed themselves in their red berets outside DeJesus’ home and said her family didn’t want to be bothered as the community absorbed the news.

"I ask the community to continue to respect the privacy of the survivors so that they can move forward with their lives," Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said in a statement.

The prison where Castro hanged himself, a so-called reception center for newly arrived inmates, is filled with nearly twice the 900 prisoners it was meant to hold, according to state data.

Stress is high and assaults are up at the prison, but Tim Shafer, an official with the guards’ union, said: "Just like out in the public, suicides happen, and you just can’t prevent every one of them."

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.