Cleveland house where Ariel Castro held three women razed

A wrecking crew uses a hydraulic excavator to begin the demolition of the rundown house where three young women were imprisoned and tortured by Ariel Castro for about a decade in Cleveland, Ohio
A wrecking crew uses a hydraulic excavator to begin demolition Wednesday of the rundown house where three young women were imprisoned and tortured by Ariel Castro for about a decade in Cleveland.

Wrecking crews on Wednesday demolished the rundown Cleveland house where three young women were imprisoned and tortured by Ariel Castro for about a decade.

An aunt of Gina DeJesus, one of the three women abducted and held captive by Castro, took the first swipe at the house shortly after 7 a.m., operating a hydraulic excavator with assistance as a crowd swarmed the site, snapping photographs and applauding.

DeJesus’ mother, Nancy Ruiz, cheered as the huge arm on a heavy demolition truck ripped into the pink room where her daughter had been held and fed through a hole in the door, County Executive Ed FitzGerald told Reuters. Reporters had limited access to the site.

The longest-held captive, Michelle Knight, 32, arrived at the house with a bunch of yellow balloons and watched as the home of her tormentor was torn to the ground.

“Nobody was there for me when I was missing,” said Knight, who is estranged from her family. “I want people out there to know, including mothers, that they can have strength, they can have hope, their child will come back.”

The razing came less than a week after Castro, 53, was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 1,000 years for holding Knight, DeJesus and Amanda Berry captive in his home on Cleveland’s west side. They were 14, 16 and 20 when they were abducted.

Rubble from the home was placed in dumpsters as bells rang at nearby Immanuel Church.

“The girls heard these bells every Sunday. That’s why [they are] ringing them,” said Herman Wendel, 84, a lifelong member of the church.

The debris will be trucked to an undisclosed location, shredded and burned so that no one will take “souvenirs,” as some people did from the home of famed Cleveland serial killer Anthony Sowell, said Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty. Vials of dirt collected from Sowell’s house were sold on a website before the home was razed in 2011.

Castro signed over the deed to the three-story house to Cuyahoga County when he pleaded guilty to 937 charges, including aggravated murder, for causing Knight to miscarry by beating and starving her.

Berry, 27, DeJesus, 23, and Knight went missing from the west side of Cleveland between 2002 and 2004.

On May 6, they were rescued, along with Berry’s 6-year-old daughter by Castro, after neighbors heard Berry’s cries and helped her break through the house’s front door.

Police found more than $22,000 in a basement washing machine. Authorities had planned to use it to pay for the demolition but the wrecking company donated its services. The cash was then offered to the three women, who turned it down, asking for it to “go back to the community,” McGinty said.

He said the county has acquired the deeds to two dilapidated homes that neighbor the Castro house and will begin demolition on those properties soon.

One spectator taking photos was Lisy Gonzalez, 35, a hospital maintenance worker who grew up in the neighborhood. She said the former site of the house of horrors should be used to build a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

“It should be a safe house. Something different than it was,” Gonzalez said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

National

Donut capers stymie police in Oregon

For more than a month, mysterious vandals have been smearing pastries on cars, depositing donuts in lawns and leaving cakes strewn about the streets.

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.