Ariel Castro. Photo by Reuters
Ariel Castro, sentenced to life in prison for the kidnapping,
rape and beatings of three Cleveland women he held captive
for years in his house, has been found hanged in his Ohio
The former school bus driver, who was under protective
custody and isolated from other inmates at the Correctional
Reception Center in Orient, was found dead at about 9:20 p.m.
when prison staff were making their rounds, Rehabilitation
and Correction Department spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said.
After prison medical personnel tried to resuscitate him,
Castro, 53, was transferred to an area hospital and
pronounced dead about 90 minutes later, she said.
Castro was sentenced on August 1 to life plus 1000 years in
prison without the possibility of parole for abducting his
three victims and keeping them imprisoned in the dungeon-like
confines of his house, where they were starved, beaten and
sexually assaulted for about a decade.
He was taken into custody just after the three women he held
captive - Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle
Knight, 32 - were freed from the house with assistance from
neighbors who heard Berry's cries for help and came to her
Rescued along with them was Berry's 6-year-old daughter,
fathered by Castro and born during her mother's captivity.
Capping one of the most sensational U.S. crime stories in
recent memory, Americans were elated by news that the three
women had been found alive and freed but were stunned by the
circumstances of their ordeal.
Castro pleaded guilty in July to a total of 937 offenses,
including kidnapping, rape, felonious assault and a charge of
aggravated murder under a fetal homicide law for the forcible
miscarriage of one of his three victims.
His plea deal with prosecutors spared Castro a possible death
penalty for murder.
Castro had been incarcerated since August 5 at the
Correctional Reception Center, a prison processing facility
outside Columbus, the state capital, about 150 miles
southeast of Cleveland.
He was to remain there while undergoing a series of mental
and physical evaluations before being transferred to a more
permanent lockup, prison officials said.
"A thorough review of this incident is under way and more
information can be provided as it becomes available pending
the status of the investigation," Smith added.
Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty acknowledged after
Castro's sentencing that a suicide note and confession
written by Castro was found by authorities at his residence
when they searched his home following his arrest in May.
But McGinty dismissed the letter as an attempt of Castro,
whom he described as a "narcissist", to feel sorry for
himself and to place blame on his victims.
The house where the three women were held, bound with chains
and ropes for periods of time, has since been torn down along
with two homes on adjacent lots.
A longtime bus driver for Cleveland public schools until he
was fired in 2012 after a series of disciplinary actions
against him, Castro had kidnapped each of his victims by
luring them into his car with offers of a ride.
The three vanished without a trace between 2002 and 2004 -
two of them as teenagers - and were rescued on May 6, 11
years after the first of them disappeared.
At his sentencing, Castro apologised for his actions but also
sought to blame his behavior on a sexual obsession and his
own history of being abused as a child, declaring: "I am not
Confronting Castro in court during that proceeding, Knight
told him: "I spent 11 years of hell. Now your hell is just