(Reuters) - The two brothers of a former Cleveland school bus driver accused of holding three women hostage in his house for a decade described him as aloof in a CNN interview and said his life was a mystery to them.
Prosecutors in Cleveland, Ohio last week charged Ariel Castro, 52, with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape, but brought no charges against brothers Onil or Pedro.
In their first TV interview since the captives escaped last Monday, the men said that for the last decade they had not been allowed past the kitchen of their brother’s house.
Onil Castro, 50, recounted the circumstances of Ariel Castro’s arrest last week. He said he was riding with Ariel in Ariel’s car when the police pulled them over. He initially presumed it had been for a traffic violation.
The men were separated, and Onil said he had little sense of the seriousness of the situation until a brief encounter later with Ariel when he was walking from his jail cell to a restroom.
“When he walked past me, he goes, ‘Onil, you’re never going to see me again. I love you bro.’ And that was it,” Onil Castro said in the CNN interview broadcast on Monday. “And he put his fist up for a bump.”
Ariel Castro has been accused of holding three women, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, captive for about a decade and fathering a child, now six years old, with Berry.
Pedro Castro, 54, recalled being awakened by police and presuming he was being arrested due to a longstanding open container violation. He described himself as surprised when detectives who had brought him in for questioning told him his brother was a kidnapping suspect.
“The detective said, ‘Well, these three girls are in your brother’s house,'” Pedro Castro said in the TV interview. “And I just, what, say that again. ‘These three girls are in your brother’s house.’ ‘What do you mean in my brother’s house?’ ‘He kept them captive.’ ‘You mean, they’re alive and in my brother’s house?’ ‘Yes.'”
Onil and Pedro said that when Ariel invited them over to eat, they typically had their meal on the stoop but would occasionally go inside to drink liquor.
“I didn’t go to his house very much, but when I did, he would let me in not past the kitchen,” Pedro said. “The reason why we would go in the kitchen, because he had alcohol. And he would take me in the kitchen, give me a shot.”
Ariel explained the limits by saying he heated only the kitchen to save money.
“Ariel, to me, he was a strange dude,” Pedro said. He said he didn’t question Ariel about being limited to the kitchen “because he gets cold real quickly. He’s always wearing a lot of coats and stuff, so I figured well, he wants to keep the heat in.”
Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Grant McCool