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Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro has died after being found hanging in his cell.

Prison officials said Ariel Castro, 53, died in hospital late on Tuesday, after prison medical staff failed to revive him.

Ariel Castro held three women against their will for about a decade until May this year. He kept his victims chained up and raped them.

He was sentenced on August 1st to life imprisonment without parole plus 1,000 years. His house was demolished.

The former school bus driver abducted Michelle Knight, 32, Amanda Berry, 27, and Gina DeJesus, 23, from the Cleveland streets between 2002 and 2004.

A spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, JoEllen Smith, said: “He was housed in protective custody which means he was in a cell by himself and rounds are required every 30 minutes at staggered intervals.

“Upon finding inmate Castro, prison medical staff began performing life saving measures. Shortly after he was transported to [the prison medical facility] where he was pronounced dead at 10:52 pm.”

“A thorough review of this incident is under way,” she added.

Ariel Castro was placed in protective custody because of the notoriety of his case, but was not on suicide watch.

Gina DeJesus was 14 years old when she disappeared. Amanda Berry was 16, and Michelle Knight, 21. Ariel Castro also fathered a child with Amanda Berry, who was rescued after she escaped from the house and contacted police.

Ariel Castro has died after being found hanging in his cell

Ariel Castro has died after being found hanging in his cell

Ariel Castro was arrested the same day. He was charged with multiple counts of kidnapping, rape and aggravated murder.

At his sentencing, Ariel Castro told the court: “I’m not a violent predator… I’m not a monster, I’m a normal person.

“I’m just sick. I have an addiction, just like an alcoholic has an addiction.”

He said he never planned to abduct the women, but acted on the spur of the moment when he kidnapped his first victim. He said that he was “truly sorry” for what he had done.

But passing sentence, Judge Michael Russo told Castro there was no place in the world for people who enslave others.

Ariel Castro pleaded guilty to 937 charges related to the ordeal of his victims, including numerous rapes.

A deal with prosecutors spared him a possible death penalty for murder.

In a victim impact statement made to the sentencing court, Michelle Knight told how their captor went to church every Sunday, before coming home to “torture” the women.

“I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning,” she said.

“You will face hell for eternity.

“From this moment on, I will not let you define me, or affect who I am. I will live on, you will die a little every day.”

Michelle Knight was the only victim to speak in person at the hearing.

Ariel Castro lured one of them into his home with the promise of a puppy, and enticed another by inviting her to meet his daughter.

The judge banned Ariel Castro from ever seeing the daughter Jocelyn, now six years old.

In an interview last month after his conviction, Ariel Castro’s lawyers said that he fitted the profile of someone with a sociopathic disorder. They expressed hope that researchers would study him for clues that could be used to stop other predators.

The three women escaped from Ariel Castro’s home on May 6, when Amanda Berry broke part of a door and yelled to neighbors for help.

The two other women were so frightened that at first they were reluctant to leave the house despite the presence of a large number of police officers.

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Gina DeJesus, the youngest of the three girls held captive in Cleveland by Ariel Castro, wants to go to the Prom and Valentine’s Dance that she missed out on when she was snatched off the street to be raped and chained up for more than a decade.

A close family friend said Gina DeJesus still views the world through the eyes of a 14-year-old and is determined to recreate some of the biggest events that other, normal teenagers enjoyed.

Meanwhile new details have emerged about her captivity and how alleged kidnapper Ariel Castro covered her head every time he allegedly raped her.

This was because Gina DeJesus was so young and was the best friend of Ariel Castro’s daughter when he allegedly snatched her off the street, according to the close family friend.

Ariel Castro knew Gina DeJesus’ family well and he felt “bothered” by her face but did not do the same to his other alleged victims, Michelle Knight and Amanda Berry.

The sickening revelation gives a new insight into the challenges that Gina DeJesus and the other girls face on their long road to recovery.

Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight – who was taken in by Gina’s family – are healing by having gone on a week long holiday to Puerto Rico, where the DeJesus’ are from.

Meanwhile, Amanda Berry has been relying on the support of friends but has endured fresh heartache upon learning her father John, who lives in Tennessee, is not well.

Gina DeJesus was only 14 when she vanished, Amanda Berry was 16 and Michelle Knight was 21.

They are now 23, 27 and 32 respectively.

Police have said Ariel Castro starved them and got Michelle Knight pregnant at least five times before punching her stomach until she miscarried.

He also fathered a child with Amanda Berry, a girl who is now six, and brainwashed them by pretending to leave the house and battering them if they tried to escape.

A family friend said: “Gina still has a lot of growing up to do.

“She has never grown up mentally, she’s still a 14-year-old little girl. 

“She was pulled away at that time. She never got a chance to go to the dances or the games or prom or the things that kids do. All the kids want the same thing, they missed out on anything.

“They never got a chance. Sweetest day, Valentine’s Day parties at school, homecomings.

“Amanda did all hers. Michelle was special needs so she didn’t get involved too much. Gina was only 14, she turned 14 the week before she went missing. She’s missed out.

“She has a look of… of a blank, a blankness to her eyes. She’s not really there, emotionally she’s not there.”

Gina DeJesus wants to go to the Prom and Valentine’s Dance that she missed out on when she was snatched off the street

Gina DeJesus wants to go to the Prom and Valentine’s Dance that she missed out on when she was snatched off the street

Another problem that Gina DeJesus faces is that her neck is “fused” because she was held in chains at an awkward angle for months on end as her bones developed.

This has given her restricted movement and doctors are now thought to be trying to rectify it, though the process will be hard to reverse.

One of the biggest challenges facing all three victims and their families as they readjust – especially Gina – is that they are no longer girls; they are grown women.

Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight spend their days with family and going to the park but they have to be supervised at all times, reflecting the strange limbo they inhabit between independence and a childlike reliance on their family, according to the family friend.

An added pain is that Ariel Castro knew the DeJesus family well before he allegedly kidnapped Gina and even turned up on rallies to help find her, handing out fliers and comforting her father.

Ariel Castro’s daughter Arlene, 22, was one of her best friends and one of the last people to see her alive when she vanished whilst walking home from school in 2004.

According to Ariel Castro’s son Anthony, he chose Gina DeJesus as a victim because of her friendship with Arlene.

All this would apparently weigh on Ariel Castro’s mind when he was allegedly raping Gina DeJesus.

The family friend said: “Gina told her family that when Castro would have s** with her he would cover up her face.

“Because they were friends, with the family. He was friends with her family when she went missing. It bothered him, and she was so young.

“He’s a liar. You’re friends with the family and you can’t she was 14 when she went to school with your daughter? Come on. Best friends with your daughter and you don’t know.

“It was just her he covered up her face. He knew what he was doing.”

The psychological scars will no doubt run deep for all three girls.

The family friend said: “I know that somewhere deep in Gina’s heart in all these year they trusted this man to take care of them.

“They became accustomed to having him around and they miss him. I’m hoping it’s not that way but that’s not normally the case when they’ve been gone this long.

“With Michelle and Amanda I can’t say as much as there. With Gina, that’s all she knows. Think about it, that’s all she knows. In a way I hope she never gets into a relationship at all.

“I hope that it didn’t affect her so she gets in an abusive relationship.

“Mentally Georgina is fine but she will never get over this. It’s always going to be in the back of her mind.”

Since the girls emerged from Ariel Castro’s house on May 6, the effect on their families has been extraordinary.

Gin DeJesus’ mother Nancy Ruiz looks younger than before when she was weighed down with worry for her daughter. She is also eating again, something she stopped doing regularly before.

Her father Felix DeJesus is returning to his old self too, much to the delight of his family.

The process with Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight however will take a lot longer.

The family friend said: “The family doesn’t ask them absolutely any questions. When the girls want to talk they talk. They don’t bother the girls with what happened.

“They don’t ask the girls nothing. The girls don’t talk about what happened and they don’t question the girls about what happened.

“It will come out when they are ready about what happened in that house. Even in the police department…it was ten years for four hours of an interview.

“You can’t bring up ten years of what happened to you. You can almost remember every day of the beatings, every day of whatever.”

On Tuesday the three kidnap victims released a video to thank everyone who supported them. It marked the first on-camera appearance since they were rescued from the clutches of Ariel Castro.

Gina DeJesus speaks only one line in the video. When asked by a man behind the camera what she would like to say to the people who contributed to the Cleveland Courage fund, she responds: “I would say thank you for the support.”

Her mother and father then speak on her behalf through the rest.

Ariel Castro, 52, a former school bus driver, has pleaded not guilty to a 329-count indictment ahead of his trial which is due to start at the beginning of next month.

He is also charged with aggravated murder of a fetus for his treatment of Michelle Knight, for which he could face the death penalty.

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Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro was indicted on 329 charges on Friday including kidnapping and rape.

The indictment covers the period from August of 2002, when the first of the three women discovered in his Cleveland home last month disappeared, until February of 2007.

Ariel Castro, 52, was indicted for one act of aggravated murder – for purposely and with prior calculation and design causing the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy.

He was also indicted on 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felonious assault and one count of possession of criminal tools.

Ariel Castro will be arraigned on those charges next week and a trial judge will then be assigned.

“Today’s indictments represent a first major step in the criminal justice process,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty.

When the indictment process is complete, the County Prosecutor’s Capital Review Committee will consider whether this case is appropriate to attach the death penalty.

Ariel Castro is accused of kidnapping Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight and holding them captive along with 6-year-old Jocelyn he fathered with Berry.

His attorneys have said he will plead not guilty to any indictment.

Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro was indicted on 329 charges including kidnapping and rape

Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro was indicted on 329 charges including kidnapping and rape

Ariel Castro has been in the Cuyahoga County Jail since his arrest on May 6. He was charged on May 8 and was jailed on $8 million bond.

He was taken off “suicide prevention” watch on Wednesday after being monitored for the past month.

Jail logs released on Wednesday also show Ariel Castro has been visited multiple times by relatives, but did not list which family members paid a visit to the suspect, News Channel 5 reported.

They also reveal that he watched a lot of television, spent a lot of time running in place and has met with his defense attorneys. He has refused time out of his cell on at least two occasions.

They show his cells being checked for contraband items – and none being found.

Jail logs last month noted that Ariel Castro spends most of his time in his cell resting or asleep, with breaks for pacing, showers and cell cleaning.

The logs, made every 10 minutes while he was on suicide watch, documented his movements at the Cuyahoga County jail.

Ariel Castro’s attorney, Craig Weintraub, described Castro’s cell as a 9-by-9-foot cell containing a metal bed with a thin mattress covered in plastic, a metal sink, and some kind of mirror.

Previous logs said Ariel Castro walked around the cell naked early in his confinement, though he later covered up.

The logs show Ariel Castro periodically asks for the time, looks out the window and stares at the ceiling. Other entries show him thanking guards for bringing his breakfast and wishing them a good day.

Ariel Castro, a former school bus driver, was arrested May 6 after one of the women, Amanda Berry, kicked out part of a locked door of his house and yelled to neighbors to help her and call police.

Police quickly arrived and found Amanda Berry in the street before racing through the house, freeing Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. The women were admitted to a hospital but have been released.

The three disappeared between 2002 and 2004, when they were in their teens or early 20s, authorities said.

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Johnny Berry, Amanda Berry’s father,  has revealed how his daughter is struggling to recover after ten years in captivity in Cleveland and is petrified that her accused kidnapper Ariel Castro is coming back for her.

Johnny Berry, 52, who is dying from a deadly pulmonary disease, told the National Enquirer that: “Amanda’s having a terrible time. She’s having nightmares every night, waking up screaming and crying, terrified that Castro is coming after her, or that she’s still a prisoner.

“She’s told me she’s afraid her freedom is a dream and she’s going to wake up to the horror of finding out she is still a prisoner.”

As Amanda Berry recovers from her decade-long prison ordeal, her father has spoken of his anger to declare that he would like to kill her accused kidnapper Ariel Castro.

“If I could get my hands on that monster Castro, I’d kill him myself!” said Johnny Berry from his death bed in Elizabethton, Tennessee.

Near paralyzed from recent back surgery, Johnny Berry, who is covered in tattoos and wears an uncomfortable neck brace, explained that if he can’t kill Ariel Castro, then he wants him to rot in jail for the rest of his life.

“If I can’t kill him, I don’t want the state to execute him,” said Johnny Berry to the National Enquirer.

“That would be too easy for him.”

“I want him in prison for the rest of his life. I know people in there who can make his life a living hell for what he did to Amanda. I want them to beat the s**t out of him every single day.”

Johnny Berry, Amanda Berry’s father,  has revealed how his daughter is struggling to recover after ten years in captivity in Cleveland

Johnny Berry, Amanda Berry’s father, has revealed how his daughter is struggling to recover after ten years in captivity in Cleveland

Amanda Berry was dramatically rescued from Ariel Castro’s Cleveland, Ohio, home along with Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight and her own six year old child by Castro, Jocelyn on May 6th.

The three women had been kept prisoner by Ariel Castro for almost ten years and suffered systematic rapes, beatings and induced abortions at the hands of the 52-year-old former school bus driver.

It has been claimed that the three dogs who lived in the home with the girls were kept in better condition that they were – and the girls still have to decide whether they want to take them back.

The last time that Johnny Berry saw his daughter, she was working as a 16-year-old in the local Burger King, enjoying her time at school where she was doing well.

Now, Johnny Berry, who has served time himself in jail for s**ual battery and aggravated assault, has expressed his fears that he may never see his daughter again or the grand-daughter he has never met.

However, he told the National Enquirer that he has at least spoken to Amanda twice since her lucky escape earlier this month.

“When she called me, her voice was the most beautiful sound I ever heard,” said Johnny Berry.

“She said, <<Hi daddy. I’m still alive. I love you, love you, love you!>> We were both crying…it was the happiest day of my life.”

Amanda Berry, who is now 27 is living currently with her sister Beth Serrano in Cleveland and is said to be suffering from the horrifying memories of her ordeal at the hands of Ariel Castro.

Johnny Berry was married to Amanda’s mother, Louwana Miller up until one month before Amanda’s disappearance. Louwana Miller died in 2005.

“I can’t say I was the best dad in the world,” admitted Johnny Berry.

“I feel a lot of guilt that I wasn’t there for Amanda when she needed me.

“If I had known where she was, I would have gotten a gun and gone over there and gotten her out myself, but we had no idea. It was like she just disappeared off the face of the earth.”

Despite his confirmation that his daughter is struggling, the three women rescued after being held captive in a Cleveland house for about a decade want the community to know they are doing fine and appreciate offers of help.

The message was relayed in a letter released Tuesday by their attorneys.

The letter said Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight are happy and safe. A charity fund to help the women has raised more than $650,000 from more than 6,800 donors.

Amanda Berry broke through a locked door on May 6, yelled to neighbors for help and enabled Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus to escape.

Ariel Castro, a 52-year-old former school bus driver, has been charged with three counts of rape and four counts of kidnapping, one for each of the three women and one for Amanda Berry’s 6-year-old daughter fathered by Castro.

His defense team says he will plead not guilty. The case is pending before a Cuyahoga County grand jury.


Mark Sanchez, who lives in the neighborhood and shares Ariel Castro’s affinity for the bass guitar, told The Daily Telegraph that he was at the kidnapper’s home on May 2 when he heard weird thudding sounds coming from the floor above.

Mark Sanchez also saw a little girl at one point whom he claimed he had never seen before.

Ariel Castro explained that the child was his granddaughter.

Days later, he was horrified to learn about what had been going on in the house for more than a decade.

Mark Sanchez said he was at Ariel Castro's home on May 2 when he heard weird thudding sounds coming from the floor above

Mark Sanchez said he was at Ariel Castro’s home on May 2 when he heard weird thudding sounds coming from the floor above

Mark Sanchez told the paper that he would always have to arrange plans to hang out with Ariel Castro in advance – because he never answered the door if he showed up without letting Castro know first.

He told the Telegraph: “I have to say the guy was a demon but he played it real cool. It was the first time that I heard any noise.”

Ariel Castro, 52, is suspected of holding amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight captive in his home for a decade.

Authorities say he kidnapped all three women, raped them and fathered a child with one.

The women were found May 6 after one escaped and called 911.


Ariel Castro claims in a suicide note written years ago that he was abused as a child and raped by an uncle, it was revealed today.

According to a law enforcement source, the letter contained details about Ariel Castro’s whole life and the three abductions – detailing what led him to kidnap the three women off the street and hold them captive for ten years.

The FBI found the note when they were searching his house and said they were fairly certain from its contents that it was a suicide letter.

Ariel Castro detailed that he wanted all his money to be left to his victims Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.

Ariel Castro claims in a suicide note written years ago that he was abused as a child and raped by an uncle

Ariel Castro claims in a suicide note written years ago that he was abused as a child and raped by an uncle

His home on Seymour Avenue is now a crime scene, with investigators carrying out numerous pieces of evidence – including ropes and chains.

19 Action News reporter Scott Taylor says he received a copy of the letter, which he claims was written in 2004 and found by police inside Ariel Castro’s house.

Scott Taylor posted excerpts of the letter on his Twitter page late Wednesday night, including a confession that he was “a sexual predator” and “I need help”.

Ariel Castro has been charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. Two of his brothers were also arrested on Monday, but have not been charged in connection to the case.

Police announced the charges on Wednesday – two days after Ariel Castro and his two brothers Pedro and Onil were arrested.

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