Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 01:28 a.m. EDT, 09 May 2013
CLEVELAND, Ohio - Raped, starved, beaten, and kept in chains for over 10-years, three young women were rescued on Monday thanks to the bravery of one of the victims, Amanda Berry, and the heroic efforts of a neighbor, Charles Ramsey.
Ariel Castro, 52, who is of Puerto Rican descent, is a veteran school bus driver fired from his job last fall. He was formally charged on Wednesday with kidnapping and raping the women, who were rescued from his house on the evening of 06 May 2013, shortly before his arrest according to Reuters.
Castro and his kidnapped victims, Michelle Knight, then 21, Amanda Berry, then 16, and Gina DeJesus, then 14, along with Berry's 6-year-old daughter who was born in captivity, all lived in a run down rambler which Castro owned and was located on Seymour Avenue in the predominantly Latino neighborhood in Cleveland.
Although reports stated that his two brothers, who were initially arrested as suspects in the case, were somehow complicit in the decade long imprisonment of the girls, they were subsequently released when police said investigators had determined they had no knowledge of the abductions or captivity of the women.
Castro is accused of kidnapping the three girls during separate incidents, and in the case of DeJesus, he is accused of abducting her while she was walking home from school on April 2, 2004. Once he got his victims home, it is surmised that he restrained each of the girls in the basement using ropes and chains.
Although neighbors and fellow musicians who used to hang out at Castro's house expressed surprise at his arrest, records show that he was no stranger to violence against women.
In 2005, according to court filings, he was accused of beating his former wife, Grimilda 'Nilda' Figueroa, so badly that he knocked out a tooth, dislocated her shoulder, and triggered a blood clot in her brain.
After years of abuse by him she passed away last April, an early death which her family attributes to Castro. The documents also claim that he 'frequently abducts his daughters and keeps them from mother' - although it is not certain whether this occurred before or after he allegedly snatched these three victims from the streets.
There were two heroes in this daring rescue, Amanda Berry and Charles Ramsey, a conscientious neighbor who responded to the screams for help coming from inside Castro's house.
In several interviews, Ramsey said that he was "eating a McDonald’s meal when the woman across the street began kicking at the door and screaming for help, whereupon he went across the street and helped kick in the aluminum screen door through which Berry and her daughter escaped."
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- Ariel Castro Charged With Kidnapping, Raping Cleveland Girls (ktla.com)
- Ohio suspect charged with kidnap and rape (aljazeera.com)
- Ariel Castro Charged with Kidnapping & Rape, but His Brothers Got Nothing (theatlanticwire.com)