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Castro family claim body as investigation continues

Castro, who was accused of keeping three women captive, was found dead in his cell on Tuesday of this week.

File photo, Ariel Castro appears in Cleveland Municipal court in Cleveland
File photo, Ariel Castro appears in Cleveland Municipal court in Cleveland
Image: AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File

THE FAMILY OF Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro planned to claim his body as investigations sought to determine how a man who was perhaps Ohio’s most notorious prisoner managed to take his own life in his cell while in protective custody.

Castro was a month into his life sentence for holding three women captive in his home for a decade when he was found dead on Tuesday night.


Two reviews ordered on Wednesday by Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Gary Mohr were underway, prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said.

One inquiry will look into the suicide itself, and the other is examining whether Castro received proper medical and mental health care leading up the suicide.

A representative of Castro’s family was expected to claim his body yesterday, the Franklin County coroner said.

Castro, 53, had been taken off suicide watch while in county jail and was in protective custody in prison, which involves checks every 30 minutes.

He had been sentenced on August 1 to life in prison plus 1,000 years after pleading guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping and rape, in a deal to avoid the death penalty.

“I’m not a monster. I’m sick,” he told the judge at sentencing.

Castro’s captives – Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight – disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20. They were rescued from Castro’s run-down house May 6 when Berry broke through a screen door.

Elation over the women’s rescue 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 said the women were bound, repeatedly raped and deprived of food and bathroom facilities.

Read: Ohio kidnapper Ariel Castro found dead in his prison cell>

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