Prosecutors have charged 52 year old Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man suspected of abducting three women and holding them captive at his home, with multiple counts of kidnapping and rape.
The suspect's brothers, 54 year old Pedro and 50 year old Onil, who had also been taken into custody earlier this week, have not been charged in connection with the abduction and detention of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.
The charges were announced shortly after Ms Berry, who was abducted in 2003, arrived at her sister's home to a rapturous welcome from a crowd of neighbours and other well-wishers. Ms DeJesus, who was kidnapped in 2004, also returned home yesterday, while Ms Knight, who was abducted in 2002, was still reported to be in a Cleveland area hospital. The three women and Ms Berry's six year old daughter, who was born while her mother was being held captive, escaped from Ariel Castro's house at 2207 Seymour Avenue in the west side of Cleveland on Monday.
Castro now faces four counts of kidnapping connected to the detention of Ms Berry, Ms DeJesus, Ms Knight and Ms Berry's daughter. Prosecutors have also charged him with three counts rape against the three women.
Of the two brothers, Pedro and Onil, the deputy chief of Cleveland Police, Ed Tomba, said investigators had found no evidence linking them to the crimes. “There is nothing that leads us to believe that they were involved,” he told reporters at a press conference.
The remained in custody, however, as they have outstanding warrants in separate misdemeanor cases. They will attend court in connection with those cases on Thursday morning, authorities said. Ariel Castro, meanwhile, will be arraigned on the kidnapping and rape charges, Cleveland city prospector Victor Perez said.
The suspect has been cooperating with police, officials added. While no further details of the searches at 2207 Seymour Avenue were released, Cleveland Police chief Michael McGrath told NBC earlier in the day that investigators had found ropes and chains at the property.
Mr Tomba, meanwhile, said that, contrary to recent speculation, the arrest and charging of Ariel Castro had turned up no new information about the case of Ashley Summers, a 14 year old girl who disappeared from the same neighbourhood in 2007.
Video: Police audio of the moment medics discovered the girlsReuse content