Castro kidnapping case: Three young lives stolen

Alexis O.-Managing Editor

A note reportedly found inside Ariel Castro’s Cleveland home includes a chilling admission: “I am a sexual predator. I need help.” This note was found by investigator Scott Taylor, who reports that the note was written in 2004. Castro, 52, has been charged with four counts of kidnapping and the rape of three women—Amanda Berry, 27; Gina DeJesus, 23; and Michelle Knight, 32—whom he is suspected of holding captive in his home for close to a decade. “I think it is very unfortunate and very eye-opening what happened to these girls. It could have happened to anyone,” says junior Lauren Dickey. Excerpts from the letter were released to the media by Taylor, giving the public a greater insight into the man accused of kidnapping, raping, and holding three young women hostage.

kidnapping survivors AO

“They are here against their will because they made a mistake of getting in a car with a total stranger,” Castro wrote in the note, according to Taylor. Junior Tyler Raridon states, “It really is sick how kidnappers think. How can you justify stealing years of someone’s life like that?” Castro continued on in his letter, speaking of how he did not know why he kept looking for more young women. “I already had 2 in my possession,” Castro wrote. In the letter, Castro shares his surprise at learning how young DeJesus was because “I thought she was a lot older.” DeJesus was 16 at the time, and also friends with his daughter, which makes it very odd that he did not know of her age. While the discovered note has been referred to as similar to a journal, some also see it as a suicide note since Castro wrote about how he wanted to commit suicide and then give all of his life savings to his victims. All of the women have given long statements to the police, as well as Castro. “I hope the kidnapper gets a life sentence. What he did was unforgiveable,” senior Bishop Boening says.

These three women and the child spent every day of their captivity in a Cleveland home in one of the oldest neighborhoods around. During their captivity, the women had been let outside only twice to walk from the Castro house to the garage in the rear of the house. Castro forced the women to disguise themselves on those two occasions, Cleveland public safety director Martin Flask said. While inside the house, police say the women were restrained with ropes and chains in the basement at first, but eventually Castro allowed the three young women to live upstairs where they were kept in separate rooms but were sometimes allowed to interact with one another, relying on each other for survival and hope.

Castro did take Berry’s child out to playgrounds, but he would tell people she was his granddaughter or the daughter of his girlfriend. Sources also said that the child was not told the real names of DeJesus and Knight because he did not want her to raise suspicions when they were out in public.

Castro kidnapping AO.jpg 2

City Councilman (of Cleveland) Brian Cummins, who was briefed by police on the investigation, told the Associated Press that the three women were subjected to prolonged sexual and psychological abuse. Cummins also states that the women suffered several miscarriages at the hands of their captor. Knight told investigators that she became pregnant at least five times while in captivity, and each time Castro discovered the pregnancy, he would starve Knight for at least two weeks and then punch her repeatedly in the stomach until she miscarried. Castro appeared in Cleveland Municipal Court on Thursday morning for an initial hearing.

Berry gave birth to the only child born in captivity, having the baby in a plastic tub. Unable to seek medical care without being discovered, Castro forced Knight to deliver the child, according to a police source familiar with the investigation. Following the birth of Berry’s baby, complications ensued when the child stopped breathing; according to Knight, Castro threatened to kill her if the baby died. Knight gave the baby mouth to mouth resuscitation in order to save the baby’s life as well as her own. “What is most incredible here is that this girl who knows nothing about childbirth was able to deliver a baby that is now a healthy 6-year-old,” the source said.

The women were held captive year after year, and their faith was running dry. In that time, the women saw their parents on television at vigils held for them, according to a law enforcement source. This made all of the girls very depressed and emotional, knowing that they might never see their loved ones again in person. The women claim that Castro also had a celebration for each woman each year with cake and a special meal. The celebration was like a birthday celebration, but it was a celebration of the day they were taken captive instead.

While the last decade with Castro had times of unpredictability, one thing his three captives could count on was that their alleged captor would never let them out. Many people have questioned why the women did not attempt an escape earlier. According to investigators, Berry shared that sometimes Castro would test the women and pretend to “leave” the house. He would return suddenly: if there were indications any of the women had moved, they would be disciplined. Berry feared that when Castro left the inside door unlocked on Monday, May 6, Castro was testing them again; however, she took a chance when she tried to get the attention of neighbors, and thanks to that moment of courage, the women can now attempt to get their lives back.

In all, this case is heartbreaking just like all other kidnapping cases. Aside from murder, it really is a stolen life. These three women will have much support from the public, and Castro will rot in jail for the rest of his days. It has also been speculated that Castro has the possibility of facing the death penalty as well if he is charged with murdering the unborn babies of his victims.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: