The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

September 4, 2013

Ohio man who held 3 women captive hangs himself

(Continued)

The three women — Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight — disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. They were rescued from Castro's home on May 6 when Berry broke out part of screen door and yelled to neighbors for help.

Elation over the women's rescue soon turned to shock as details emerged about their captivity. Castro fathered a child with Berry while she was being held. The girl was 6 when she was freed.

Investigators also said the women were bound with chains, repeatedly raped and deprived of food and bathroom facilities. Knight told investigators she was beaten and starved to force her to miscarry over and over.

Castro was sentenced Aug. 1 to life in prison plus 1,000 years after he pleaded to 937 counts, including kidnapping and rape, in a deal to avoid the death penalty. At his sentencing, he told the judge: "I'm not a monster. I'm sick."

At the home of Berry's sister, a woman who didn't identify herself said from the porch Wednesday there would be no comment. An officer in a passing patrol car kept watch on the street.

Wearing their familiar red berets, members of the Guardian Angels volunteer patrol group stationed themselves outside DeJesus' and said her family didn't want to be bothered as the community absorbed the news.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said in a statement: "I ask the community to continue to respect the privacy of the survivors so that they can move forward with their lives."

Messages left for the women's lawyers were not immediately returned.

Castro was watched closely in the Cuyahoga County Jail in the several weeks after his arrest and before his guilty plea, with logs noting his activity every 10 minutes. He was taken off the suicide watch in June after authorities determined he was not a suicide risk.

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