US man charged with kidnap, rape after women found | Inquirer News

US man charged with kidnap, rape after women found

/ 08:52 PM May 09, 2013

This undated combination photo released by the Cleveland Police Department shows from left, Onil Castro, Ariel Castro, and Pedro Casto. Ariel Castro, a 52-year-old former school bus driver suspected of keeping three women captive inside his decrepit house for a decade, was charged Wednesday, May 8, 2013 with kidnapping and rape, accused of holding them under conditions so oppressive they were allowed outside for only a few moments in disguise and never saw a chance to escape until this week. Prosecutors brought no charges against Castro’s two brothers, who were arrested along with him on Monday, saying there was no evidence they had any part in the crime. AP photo

CLEVELAND— The former school bus driver accused of kidnapping and raping three women missing for about a decade will make his first public appearance in court Thursday after emerging as the lone suspect.

Puerto Rican-born Ariel Castro, 52, was charged with four counts of kidnapping — covering all three captives and the daughter born to one of them while she was held — and three counts of rape against the three women. Prosecutors brought no charges against his brothers, Pedro, 54, and Onil, 50, saying there was no evidence they had any part in the crime.


Police say the women were apparently bound by ropes and chains at times and were kept in different rooms. They suffered prolonged sexual and psychological abuse and had miscarriages, according to a city official briefed on the case.


Councilman Brian Cummins said many details remained unclear, including the number of pregnancies and the conditions under which the miscarriages occurred. He said the women were kept in the basement for some time without having access to the rest of the house. Police said they were apparently bound with ropes and chains.

“It sounds pretty gruesome,” Cummins said.

Gina De Jesus, one of three women held captive for about a decade at a run-down Cleveland house, gives a thumbs-up as she is escorted toward her home Wednesday, May 8, 2013, in Cleveland. The miraculous rescue of the three missing women has given hope to many families whose loved ones have vanished. Yet hope, when searching for a long-lost child, can be a dangerous thing. AP photo

The women’s plight has riveted the U.S. since 27-year-old Amanda Berry kicked through a screen door at the house Monday, used a neighbor’s telephone to call authorities and told a police dispatcher, “I’m free now.” An officer showed up minutes later, and Berry ran out and threw her arms around the officer, a neighbor said.

Two of the women were welcomed home Wednesday by jubilant crowds. Neither Berry nor Gina De Jesus, about 23, spoke publicly, and their families pleaded for patience and time alone.

The third captive, Michelle Knight, 32, was reported in good condition at a local hospital.

The Associated Press does not usually identify people who may be victims of sexual assault, but the names of the women were widely circulated by their families, friends and law enforcement authorities for years during their disappearance.


All three women apparently had been held captive in the house since their teens or early 20s, police said. Law enforcement officials left many questions unanswered, including how the women were taken captive.

Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba told a news conference that a paternity test on Ariel Castro was being done to establish who fathered Berry’s now 6-year-old child.

Neighbors in the largely Puerto Rican neighborhood said Ariel Castro had taken part in the search for one of the missing women, performed music at a fundraiser for her and attended a candlelight vigil, where he comforted her mother.

“When we went out to look for Gina, he helped pass out fliers,” said Khalid Samad, a community activist who said Castro was friends with DeJesus’ father.

As recently as 2005, Castro was accused of repeated acts of violence against his children’s mother. A domestic-violence court filing at the time accused Ariel Castro of twice breaking the nose of his children’s mother, knocking out a tooth, dislocating each shoulder and threatening to kill her and her daughters three or four times in a year.

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

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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.

TAGS: Amanda Berry, Ariel Castro, Cleveland, Kidnapping, Rape, Sexual abuse

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