Eagle View Bellbrook High School Bellbrook, OH
Issue Date: Tuesday, April 09, 2013 Issue: Spring 2013 Last Update: Tuesday, May 28, 2013
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At-a-glance

Ariel Castro appears in court on 3 charges of rape and 4 charges of kidnapping. Castro kept his head down and did not speak while in court. -
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Three Cleveland women, Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight, were found on May 6, after a decade of being held captive by 52 year old, Ariel Castro. They were held in Castro's house for those 10 years, only being allowed outside twice in that span. Finally, on May 6 the nightmare was over when Castro's neighbors, Charles Ramsey and Angel Cordero, heard Berry screaming. They went over and freed her from the house by kicking down the front door. With Berry was a 6 year old girl who is now known to be the child of Berry and Castro. Berry immediately called 911 saying, "Help me! I am Amanda Berry. I've been kidnapped and I've beenmissing for 10 years. And I'm free, I'm here now."

Castro is now behind bars and charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape tied to the case. Police say Castro could get aggravated murder charges which are punishable by death. He is being held on a $8 million bond.

As each day goes by, more and more information is coming out of the daily struggles these 3 women went through. They were sexually and physically abused daily. Castro allegedly impregnated one of his captives 5 times and would starve her and punch her belly until she would miscarry. Berry was also forced to give birth to her daughter in an inflatable pool with only the help of Knight. Castro threatened to kill Knight if the baby did not survive.

All 3 of the captives were lured by Castro when they were only teenagers. Knight was 21 when Castro offered her a ride home, but then took her back to his house and held her captive sexually abused her. Less than a year later, Knight was joined by Berry. Berry was lured in a similar way as Knight on the eve of her 17th birthday. Almost exactly a year later he told 14 year old DeJesus that he would take her to meet his daughter who she was friends with, but instead took her captive in his home.

Castro's  brothers, Onil and Pedro Castro, were arrested at first, but police released them after investigators said there was no evidence against them. The 2 brothers along with Ariel Castro's daughter have came out and denied any involvement with the kidnapping. Castro's mother, Lillian Rodriguez, has also released a statement saying, "I am sorry for what my son has done." But what makes this story even more twisted is that Castro attended all the vigils in remembrance for the women. He hugged the women's family and comforted their mothers, all while he was holding them captive and abusing them. 

Shelby Powers, junior, notes, "It's scary that such a thing can happen just 3 hours away from here. It's the type of thing that you think doesn't happen and only happens in movies." As the investigation continues, authorities and Cleveland citizens are asking if this could have been prevented from going on for so long. Neighbors of Castro have come out saying they had called police before because of screaming heard from Castro’s house. Neighbors have also called the police saying they had seen naked women crawling in his backyard and basement. Shelby Powers added, “I wish the police would have done something sooner. They could have taken the obvious hints.”

All three women and the young girl are now safely at home with family. They are asking for privacy as they try to put their lives back together. 

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Katie Bills-Tenney

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