Ariel Castro, the 52-year-old former schoolbus driver accused of holding and abusing three women in his Cleveland home, will face four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape, prosecutors announced Wednesday afternoon. Castro's kidnapping charges refer to Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, and Amanda Berry's six-year-old daughter. The rape charges refer to Berry, DeJesus, and Knight, all of whom Castro allegedly lured into his house on three different occasions using his car.
Castro's two brothers, Pedro and Onil, have not been charged at this time. "There's nothing that leads us to believe [Castro's brothers] had any knowledge' of kidnapped women," Cleveland police said Wednesday evening, according to NBC. The brothers are still in custody even though there are no charges pending right now. As we reported earlier, police appear to be focusing their investigation on the man who lived in the home where the women were discovered Monday evening.
Castro's arraignment is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.
Update, 6:10 p.m. Eastern — Cleveland newspaper The Plain Dealer, quoting an anonymous police source with access to the criminal complaint against Castro, indicates how Castro "lured" his victims to his house:
Ariel Castro ... offered each of the women rides on separate occasions to lure them into a nearly decade-long nightmare of captivity. A police source with access to the initial police report filed by the first responding officers said Castro tempted Berry, who was last seen wearing a Burger King uniform, with a ride to her home. Castro, 52, told Berry that he had a son who worked at Burger King, the source said. When Berry entered Castro's vehicle, the accused abductor took her straight to his home on Seymour Avenue.
Update, 6:15 p.m. — Cleveland TV station ABC 5 reports that on several occasions Castro induced miscarriage in at least one of his victims by punching her stomach:
Michelle told the source she was impregnated at least five times by Castro, who reportedly would abort each baby by punching her in the stomach until she miscarried. Amanda had her baby, Joyclen, in the house in a plastic pool "so the mess was easier to clean up," the source noted. Michelle delivered Amanda's baby girl and Castro told her if the baby died, so would she. At one point, the source said Joyclen had stopped breathing, but Michelle gave her mouth to mouth until she came back to life.
The station also gave details of Amanda Berry's escape:
On Monday, Amanda told the law enforcement source that a big inside door was left unlocked when Castro left but the storm door remained latched. Amanda tried to get it open but told the source she was afraid to break it open because she thought Castro was trying to "test her."
Update, 6:30 p.m. — An unnamed source supplied NBC News with details of Castro's initial conversation with one of the victims and the manner in which she and the rest of the victims were allegedly kept apart within Castro's house:
Another of the women, Gina DeJesus, gave the first details of her capture, the sources said: She told investigators she was abducted on her way home from school one day in 2004 when a man pulled up in a van and casually said, “You need a ride? I’ll give you a ride home from school.” The women have told investigators that they were kept isolated from each other in locked rooms, the sources said.
Another source warned NBC not to lend automatic credibility to these accounts:
One police source close to the investigation cautioned that it was hard to be sure the women’s memories were completely accurate after such a long time in captivity.
Click here for updates on the Cleveland kidnappings as this case continues to unfold.
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