Ariel Castro charged in Cleveland kidnapping

CLEVELAND Wed May 8, 2013 7:54pm EDT

1 of 14. Gina DeJesus arrives at her home in Cleveland, Ohio, May 8, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/John Gress

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CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Cleveland resident Ariel Castro was charged on Wednesday with kidnapping and raping three women who were rescued from his house on Monday after nearly a decade in captivity.

Castro's two brothers Pedro and Onil, originally arrested in the case, were not charged, said Cleveland city prosecutor Victor Perez at a news conference.

The charges came as police revealed that the women, who were rescued on Monday after one of them, Amanda Berry, fled with the help of a neighbor, had not seen any previous chances to escape in nearly ten years of captivity.

"The only opportunity, after interviewing the young ladies, to escape was the other day when Amanda escaped," Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said at the same news conference.

"They don't believe that they've been outside that home for the last 10 years respectively," he said.

"They were not in one room, but they did know each other and they did know each other was there," he added.

Police said earlier that they found ropes and chains in the house that had been used to hold them prisoner. No human remains were found, they said.

Castro, 52, faces four counts of kidnapping relating to Berry, now 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, Michelle Knight, 32, and Berry's 6-year-old daughter who was conceived and born during her mother's captivity, authorities said.

A paternity test will be conducted to determine the girl's father, Tomba said.

Castro is not a suspect in any other cases, he said.

Authorities were searching a second house in relation to the case, Tomba said.

Berry and DeJesus went to their families' homes on Wednesday, while Knight was in a Cleveland hospital where a spokeswoman said she was in good condition.

The rape charges against Castro relate to Berry, DeJesus and Knight, the prosecutor said. He would be arraigned on Thursday morning, the prosecutor said.

Castro and his two brothers were arrested on Monday evening within hours of the women's escape from his house.

However, there was no evidence Pedro Castro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50, were involved, the prosecutor said.

Investigators took some 200 pieces of evidence from the Castro house, which Tomba said was "in quite a bit of disarray."

Neither Berry nor DeJesus spoke publicly as they were hustled inside their family's homes, and relatives emerged instead to speak to the waiting crowds of spectators and media.

Berry and her daughter could be seen from an aerial television camera arriving in a convoy of vehicles at her sister's house and going in the back door.

DeJesus was rushed into the home she had not seen in nine years, clenched in a tight embrace by her sister Mayra. DeJesus hid her face in a yellow hooded sweat-shirt but raised her hand in a thumbs-up sign to the crowd that was chanting "Gina. Gina."

Her mother Nancy DeJesus came outside after a little while.

"I want to thank everybody that believed," she said. "Even the ones that doubted, I still want to thank them the most because they're the ones that made me stronger, the ones that made me feel the most that my daughter was out there."

Before Monday evening, Berry had last been seen leaving her job at a fast-food restaurant the day before her 17th birthday in April 2003. Her disappearance as a teenager was widely publicized in the local media.

DeJesus vanished while walking home from school at age 14 in 2004, and Knight, 32, was 20 when she disappeared in 2002.

Born in Puerto Rico, Ariel Castro played bass in Latin music bands in the area. Records show he was divorced more than a decade ago and his ex-wife had since died. He is known to have at least one adult daughter and son.

(Additional reporting by Daniel Trotta, Barbara Goldberg; Writing by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Grant McCool, Toni Reinhold and Bernard Orr)

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Comments (42)
tchr58 wrote:
There is one kind of police protection for rich people and another for poor people, especially if they are Hispanic. If this was a wealthy neighborhood and someone called about a woman holding a baby and crying, it would have been handled differently. But we all know that. Then something like this happens and ther is breast-beating and finger-pointing. Right.

May 08, 2013 6:34am EDT  --  Report as abuse
pocketnunu wrote:
The answer to the question of how this went undetected for 10 years is “all of the above.”

Not to change the subject too, too much, it reminds me of the Boston bombers, whom none of the family or friends could imagine they were responsible for such acts. Same with Ariel Castro. An average joe, former school bus driver, and musician, whom one neighbor said they’d had BBQs, eaten ribs, together, listened to salsa music.

In both cases, the suspects seemed harmless, average. Only the former wife and children knew Ariel Castro was a wife and child beater and capable of such horrifying acts. They still did not guess what was behind the padlocked doors. They were too afraid to ask.

May 08, 2013 10:10am EDT  --  Report as abuse
bettis wrote:
So, either multiple people are lying about the police being called or the police are lying about the calls. Considering that this went undetected for so long, it’s clear the Cleveland police are incompetent, so I’m betting they are the liars. I think we will find a number of suspiciously missing records from about this time.

May 08, 2013 10:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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