Ariel Castro: Accused Cleveland captor charged with kidnapping, rape

Cleveland Police Department booking photo shows Ariel Castro in Cleveland, Ohio
Ariel Castro is shown in Cleveland, Ohio in this May 7, 2013 booking photo provided by the Cleveland Police Department. Cleveland Police Dept/Handout via Reuters

52-year-old Ariel Castro, the accused captor of abducted Cleveland girls Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight, has been charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.

In a news conference, Cleveland law officials said the kidnapping victims included Knight, DeJesus, Berry and the child Berry gave birth to while in captivity. Castro is the presumed father of that child. Officials said the rape victims were Knight, DeJesus and Amanda Berry.

Castro’s brothers, Pedro and Onil Castro, were arrested on Monday night in connection with the case, but officials said they will not be charged because there is no evidence at this time that they were involved in these crimes. Police said they were initially arrested because they were with Ariel Castro when cops found him. 

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Ariel Castro was a school bus driver given mostly “excellent” marks on his performance appraisals, but was repeatedly disciplined, including for one incident when he was accused of calling a young student a “bitch” and leaving the child alone on a bus. He was fired last November.

Berry, DeJesus and Knight, who all disappeared from the Cleveland area in the early 2000s, were held captive at the home by Ariel Castro, police said. Investigators found rope and chains in the house believed to be used to restrain them.

The women were freed on Monday night after a neighbor helped Amanda Berry break through the front door and call 911. Berry and DeJesus each returned to their families’ homes today. Knight is reportedly refusing to be reunited with her mother.

Follow Cassandra Garrison on Twitter: @CassieAtMetro


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