Ohio abductions: Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro found hanged in prison cell

Lawyer blames jail for not taking precautions after he was taken off suicide watch in June

Los Angeles

Ariel Castro, the Ohio man sentenced to life plus 1,000 years for the kidnap and rape of three women, whom he kept captive at his Cleveland home for a decade, has committed suicide after one month in prison.

The Franklin County Coroner’s Office said that Castro, 53, had hanged himself with a bed sheet. He was found in his cell at 9.20pm as prison staff made their rounds at the Correctional Reception Centre outside Columbus, the state capital, where he had been since 5 August.

Prison medical staff tried to resuscitate him before he was taken to the Ohio State University Medical Centre, where he was pronounced dead shortly before 11pm. His cousin, Maria Castro-Montes, told CNN that she cried when she heard the news. “It was just shock and part of it was even relief in hopes that now this will just end all of it,” she said. “I just hope the victims can move past this now.”

Castro’s lawyer, Craig Weintraub, said he was “stunned” to hear of his client’s death, and that more precautions ought to have been taken to prevent a suicide attempt.

When he was jailed, Castro was put on suicide watch and checked by staff every 10 minutes. This ended in June, though he was still monitored every 30 minutes. The Ohio Department of Corrections is expected to conduct an investigation to determine whether anything further could have been done to prevent Castro’s suicide.

Mr Weintraub said he had recently been denied a request to have his client evaluated by a psychologist. Some will welcome Castro’s death, he said, as “a happy ending to this story… But we’re in a civilised society and no one should really be celebrating this.”

In July, Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts including aggravated murder, apparently so that he could avoid the death penalty.

Between 2002 and 2004, he snatched three young women – Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus – from the streets of Cleveland and imprisoned them at his home, where he repeatedly raped and assaulted them.

He is believed to have starved and beaten Ms Knight to induce miscarriages after she became pregnant several times. He also fathered a daughter, now six years old, with Ms Berry. The girl escaped with her mother and the other two women in May, after Ms Berry’s cries for help were heard by neighbours while Castro was out.

After Castro’s arrest, the house was searched and an apparent suicide note written by Castro in 2004 was found. Tim McGinty, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor, said he believed the note was simply a plea for sympathy.

The three women are aware of their former captor’s death, but will not be commenting. Jackie Figaro Roman, an aunt of Ms DeJesus, said the women were experiencing a “mixture of emotions”: “Gina is a little confused. But [they] won’t have to think about him because he’s not around any more.”

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific