Daily Updates

September 6, 2013

Ariel Castro’s family prepares to claim his body

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The family of Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro planned to claim his body Thursday as investigations sought to determine how a man who was perhaps Ohio’s most notorious prisoner managed to hang himself with a bedsheet while in protective custody.

Castro was a month into his life sentence for holding three women captive in his home for a decade when he committed suicide Tuesday night.

Two reviews ordered Wednesday by Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Gary Mohr were underway, prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said. One inquiry will look into the suicide itself, and the other is examining whether Castro received proper medical and mental health care leading up the suicide.

A representative of Castro’s family was expected to claim his body Thursday, the Franklin County coroner said.

Castro, 53, had been taken off suicide watch while in county jail and was in protective custody in prison, which involves checks every 30 minutes.

He had been sentenced Aug. 1 to life in prison plus 1,000 years after pleading guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping and rape, in a deal to avoid the death penalty. “I’m not a monster. I’m sick,” he told the judge at sentencing.

Castro’s captives — Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight — disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20. They were rescued from Castro’s run-down house May 6 when Berry broke through a screen door.

Elation over the women’s rescue turned to shock as details emerged about their captivity. Castro fathered a child with Berry while she was being held. The girl was 6 when she was freed.

Investigators said the women were bound, repeatedly raped and deprived of food and bathroom facilities.

Berry’s cousin Tina Miller said Thursday the suicide showed Castro was not as strong as the three women he kidnapped, raped and imprisoned.

“Killing yourself, that’s not strength. Surviving it is strength, and that’s what them girls did — they survived it for 11, 10 and 9 years,” said Miller, of Lorain in northeast Ohio.

Tito DeJesus, who knew Castro for two decades and often played in bands with him, said he wasn’t shocked by the suicide, especially given Castro’s reference to taking his life in a 2004 note police found when they searched the house.

“It was either he killed himself or somebody was going to do it,” DeJesus, 39, of Cleveland, said Thursday. “He wasn’t going to last long in prison.”

Tito DeJesus said he is not a direct relation to Gina DeJesus.

———

Associated Press writers Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus and Tom Sheeran in Cleveland contributed to this report.

 

1
Text Only
Daily Updates
  • 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday:

    April 20, 2014

  • In Other News, April 20

    April 20, 2014

  • Ukraine, Russia trade blame for shootout in east

    Within hours of an Easter morning shootout at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement blaming militant Ukrainian nationalists and Russian state television stations aired pictures of supposed proof of their involvement in the attack that left at least three people dead.

    April 20, 2014

  • In West Bank, teen offenders face different fates

    The boys were both 15, with the crackly voices and awkward peach fuzz of adolescence. They lived just a few minutes away from one another in the West Bank. And both were accused of throwing stones at vehicles, one day after the other.

    April 20, 2014

  • Study: Fuels from corn waste not better than gas

    Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration’s conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change.

    April 20, 2014

  • Fracking foes cringe as unions back drilling boom

    After early complaints that out-of-state firms got the most jobs, some local construction trade workers and union members in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia say they’re now benefiting in a big way from the Marcellus and Utica Shale oil and gas boom.

    April 20, 2014

  • In Colorado, a pot holiday tries to go mainstream

    Once the province of activists and stoners, the traditional pot holiday of April 20 has gone mainstream in the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana.

    April 20, 2014

  • ‘Capt. America’ tops box office for third week

    Captain America continues to vanquish box office foes, triumphing in ticket sales for the third consecutive week and dominating over megastar Johnny Depp’s new movie.

    April 20, 2014

  • Probe could complicate Rick Perry’s prospects

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry has spent a record 14 years in office vanquishing nearly all who dared confront him: political rivals, moms against mandatory vaccines for sixth graders, a coyote in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    April 20, 2014

  • NASA’s space station Robonaut finally getting legs

    Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs.

    April 19, 2014