Ariel Castro, who was sentenced to a life term in prison last month for the sexual abuse and kidnapping of three Cleveland women, was found dead in his cell Tuesday night.
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The 53-year old Castro was found around 9:20 P.M. ET hanging in his prison cell at Orient, Ohio’s Correction Reception Center. He was being held at the reception center under protective custody. The medical staff on site was unable to revive him and he was transferred to Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 10:52 P.M. ET.
While Castro wasn’t under suicide watch, he was checked on regularly every 30 minutes by reception center guards. Ohio Rehabilitation and Correction Department spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said that the incident was under review as to what happened exactly.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty weighed in on the suicide in statement: “This man couldn’t take, for even a month, a small portion of what he had dished out for more than a decade. Let this be a message to other child kidnappers: There will be a heavy price to pay when you are caught. You won’t enjoy the captive side of the bars.”
Ariel Castro was given life with an additional 1,000 years on August 1 for abducting Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry, and Michelle Knight. The three young women were held in captive for over 10 years in his Cleveland, Ohio home. One of the captive women—Amanda Berry—had a child with Castro during the ordeal.
While they were being held inside the house, Castro carried on with life. He played music in public and at local functions, went to church, and even went to vigils and searches for the young women.
Berry, DeJesus, and Knight were freed on May 6 when Berry escaped and told neighbors of what occurred inside the Seymour Avenue house. Concerned neighbors alerted police who arrived at the house and rescued the young women.
Mayor Frank Jackson didn’t want the death of Castro to distract from the triumph of the survivors. “It is our sincere hope that they will continue to heal and recover. I ask the community to continue to respect the privacy of the survivors so that they can move forward with their lives.”
During the sentencing process Ariel Castro apologized for his crimes, but pinned the blame both on his childhood abuse and an addiction to sex.
Michelle Knight stood against Castro in court during his sentence hearing. “I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning.” Knight said. “I will overcome all that happened, but you’re going to face hell for eternity.”
Ariel Castro’s attorney, Craig Weintraub, said that he planned to get to the bottom of Castro’s death. He also said that even though the greater public would view the incident in a “good riddance” light his client was still a human.
Several neighbors who knew Castro for years voiced a mixture of relief for the victims and concerns over how he was allowed to kill himself.
Castro’s house of horror was torn down in August to prevent it from becoming a kind of morbid landmark and black eye on the city. The same was done in the case of Fresno, California religious zealot Marcus Wesson who murdered nine of his family March 12, 2004.