Ariel Castro, the kidnapper who held three women captive in Cleveland has died in jail of an apparent suicide, the Associated Press reports. He had been on a suicide watch, which included checks on his cell every 30 minutes. The Ohio Department of Corrections released a statement saying:
Inmate Ariel Castro was found hanging in his cell this evening at 9:20 pm at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient. 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 OSUMC where he was pronounced dead at 10:52 pm. A thorough review of this incident is underway and more information can be provided as it becomes available pending the status of the investigation.
Ariel Castro had been sentenced to life in jail plus 1,000 years after pleading guilty to 937 counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges. The case captivated the nation when three women who he had been holding as prisoners in his home were released in a dramatic rescue earlier this year.
His three kidnapping victims, Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus were freed by neighbors after Berry called out for help through a door. Neighbors Charles Ramsey and Angel Cordero ran to the women’s aid and broke the door down by force to help the women escape. Also rescued was Berry’s six year old daughter who had been delivered in captivity. It was reported that Berry gave birth to her daughter in swimming pool, assisted by Michelle Knight.
The women were all held captive by Castro for years, and two were abducted when they were teenagers. Michelle Knight was 20 years of age when she was taken. In court, Knight described “11 years of hell” being trapped in Castro’s house with the other women. When she was found, she showed signs of having been beaten and was severely malnourished, according to reports.
During his time in court, Ariel Castro admitted he was a “sexual predator” but at times, went on to defend himself by saying that he had “consensual sex” with all three women.
Michelle Knight addressed Castro directly in court, saying:
I remember all the times you came home talking about what everyone else was doing wrong when you were doing the same thing,she said. I cried every night. I was so alone. I worried what would happen to me and the other girls every day.
(Gina) never let me fall, I never let her fall. She nursed me back to health when I was dying from her abuse. My friendship with her is the only good thing to come out of this situation.
I will overcome all this that happened. I will live on, you will die a little every day. I will forgive you, but I will never forget.
Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro has been found dead in his jail cell of an apparent suicide. The method has not yet been revealed, but a complete investigation is underway.
By: Rebecca Savastio