Police 'made hundreds of visits' to Ariel Castro's Cleveland street in the years since three women's disappearance
Nikhil Kumar is The Independent's New York correspondent. He was formerly assistant editor on the foreign desk and has also done a variety of jobs on the city desk, where he wrote about markets, commodities and other business and economics topics.
Monday 17 June 2013
Local police made nearly eleven hundred visits to houses on the Cleveland block where Ariel Castro is accused of holding three women captive in his home for around a decade, it has emerged.
Castro’s home at number 2207 Seymour Avenue was, in fact, one of the quietest on the down-at-heel block on the west side of the city, with police visiting the address only twice in the years since Michelle Knight, now 32, disappeared in 2002. Castro is also accused of abducting Amanda Berry in 2003 and Gina DeJesus in 2004. At the time, they were 16 and 14 years old respectively.
The three women, along with a 6-year-old girl whom authorities say Castro fathered with Amanda Berry, escaped in May, when Ms Berry’s screams were heard by a neighbour.
As the case against Castro, 52, unfolds - last week, he pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of kidnapping and rape - police records seen by NBC News have revealed that during the time he is accused of holding the women captive, his next-door neighbours at No. 2003 Seymour Avenue called the police 35 times. Officers, meanwhile, visited No. 2120, which is a couple of doors down on the other side of the street from the Castro residence, 68 times during the period. In total, police responded to calls on the block 1,099 times. There is no suggestion that the calls were in any way related to the abductions.
Castro’s house was relatively calm: police visited once in early 2004, when they were looking into a complaint that Castro, a former bus driver, had left a child on a public bus, and then for a second and final time in 2009, when the 52-year-old rang in to complain about a street fight.
Despite the frequency of police visits to the block, NBC reported that the records do not support statements by some neighbours in the days after the three women and the young girl emerged from Castro’s home that they had informed police about strange activities at No. 2207, including sightings of naked women in the backyard.
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