Ariel Castro dead: Convicted Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro was found dead in his jail cell Tuesday. Castro hung himself at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction facility, near Cleveland, where the 53-year-old rapist was incarcerated. USA Today carried the Sept. 4 story.
At 9:20 p.m. ET, officials checked on Castro and found he had hung himself. Prison officials have not stated how the Cleveland kidnapper was able to hang himself under close watch, or what he used in his death. Castro was in protective custody, although he was not under suicide watch. He was checked up on every 30 minutes.
Castro’s suicide comes just one month into his prison sentence. On Aug. 1, the former Cleveland bus driver plead guilty to over 900 counts of kidnapping and abuse, and was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years.
After kidnapping his victims, for over 10 years Castro raped and abused Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight – names that have become synonymous with courage, hope and the ability to overcome the odds.
Prison spokesperson JoEllen Smith said a full investigation is under way.
“A thorough review of this incident is underway and more information can be provided as it becomes available pending the status of the investigation,” Smith wrote in an email.
At the time of Castro’s sentencing, 21-year-old Michelle Knight told a heavily guarded Castro: “Your hell is just beginning.”
It was Castro who was chained and fettered at the sentencing, an appropriate twist to the days when he would mercilessly shackle down Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus with heavy, rusty chains and filthy rags.
Castro muttered a courtroom apology to the judge that was equal parts bewildering and defiant. He blamed his actions on a “sex addiction,” saying he is not the monster everyone has made him out to be, just “sick.”
“I am not a violent person,” Castro said repeatedly. Incredulously, Castro said there was quite a bit of “harmony” within the house where he kept the three women locked up for 10 years. That former house of horrors was razed by Cleveland officials last month, amid cheers from spectators who watched the building, and the memories within it, go down in rubble.
After imprisoning his three abductees for a decade, it seems that Castro was the one who could not stand to be held in confinement.