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
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.