Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ariel Castro Charged w/ Kidnapping and Rape in Cleveland 10-Year Kidnapping Case

By now you've probably heard about the horrendous story of the 3 young women and the 6 year-old daughter of one of the women who have been rescued from a house in Cleveland where they were being held captive for 10 years.  Finally today the man who owned that home, Ariel Castro, has been formally charged by the state prosecutor with several counts of rape and kidnapping.

Per NY Times:

On Wednesday, as new details of the women’s horrific ordeal emerged, Mr. Castro was charged with the rape and kidnapping of Amanda Berry, held 10 years; Gina DeJesus, held 9 years; and Michelle Knight, held 11 years. He was also charged with kidnapping the 6-year-old daughter Ms. Berry gave birth to, and the authorities said he would undergo a paternity test.
In their years as prisoners, the women never left the house except for two brief visits to the adjacent garage, the police said.
No charges were brought against the two brothers of Mr. Castro, who were arrested with him: Onil Castro, 50, and Pedro Castro, 54. Ed Tomba, deputy chief of the Cleveland police, said investigators were convinced after interviewing the victims that the two brothers had no involvement or knowledge. He declined to give details about the women’s captivity.
According to a Cleveland police report obtained by The New York Times, officers who responded to a 911 call after Ms. Berry was freed checked the basement of Mr. Castro’s house, and finding no one, headed upstairs, one officer yelling “Cleveland police!” Ms. Knight “ran and threw herself” into an officer’s arms, followed by Ms. DeJesus, who “jumped into my arms,” the officer wrote.
“All three women victims stated that Ariel chained them up in the basement, but eventually he let them free from the chains and let them live upstairs on the second floor,” the report said.
Ms. Knight told officers that Mr. Castro had impregnated her multiple times. In each case, the report said, he starved her and then punched her repeatedly in the stomach until she miscarried.
As Ms. DeJesus, now 23, and Ms. Berry, 27, returned joyfully to their families’ homes on Wednesday, other details of their ordeal emerged.
A cousin of Ms. DeJesus, last seen in 2004 at age 14 while walking from school, confirmed that the women were “kept in the basement like dogs.”
The cousin, who asked not to be named to protect the family’s privacy, said relatives spoke by speakerphone with Ms. DeJesus before her return. Although she asked relatives not to inquire about her captivity, she described the way Mr. Castro marked the anniversaries of the kidnappings by serving dinner and a cake. “He would celebrate their abduction day as their new birthday,” the cousin said.
Neighbors of the Castro family — which owns at least two other homes in the Tremont district of Cleveland — recalled visits by Mr. Castro accompanied by a young girl they suspected was Ms. Berry’s daughter.
The police report said that Ms. Berry delivered her baby in the house into a plastic pool and that Ms. Knight acted as the midwife. According to the report, Ms. Knight told the police that Mr. Castro warned that he would kill her if the baby died. Ms. Knight stated that the baby stopped breathing at one point “but she breathed into her mouth and ‘breathed for her’ to keep her alive.” The child was never told the names of the two other women in the house in case she uttered the names in public.
Nelson Martinez, 54, a cousin of Mr. Castro, said Mr. Castro visited him in Parma, Ohio, with a child he introduced as his granddaughter two or three years ago.
“She looked healthy and happy and looked as though she liked being with her ‘granddaddy,’ ” Mr. Martinez said. “She had on clean clothes, like a normal little girl, and she seemed alert and talked.”
Ms. Knight, the oldest of the women and the longest held, was the only one who had not been released to relatives yet. She remained hospitalized in the MetroHealth Medical Center.
Since the discovery of the women less than five miles from the neighborhood on Lorain Avenue where all three disappeared, some residents have angrily questioned whether the police had done all they could. 

On a side note, Charles Ramsey, the man who helped rescue Ms. Berry, has become somewhat of a celebrity hero.

Several good questions:

1. Did the police do all that they could do?
2. Would you have done what Charles Ramsey did, or would you have kept going on about your business?
3. What is a fitting punishment for Castro?
4. Your thoughts on the whole ordeal?
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