Cleveland police were not very forthcoming this morning this morning with details on the investigation of the rescued kidnapping victims, but a few leaked reports and at least one odd coincidence are shedding some light on the man who appears to be most responsible.
According to the family of Gina DeJesus, who spoke to local CBS affliate WOIO, one the women who was held captive for nearly a decade, say that she actually knew Ariel Castro, the owner of the house where the women were found, because he was a relative of one of her friends. It's not known if they interacted or had any sort of relationship before DeJesus was kidnapped, but since the other two women were also from the area, it's possible he knew them as well.
The family also says that Castro came to public vigils that were held for at least two of the girls after they disappeared. Castro is awaiting charges along with his two brothers. Their mugshots were just released to the media.
While the official official story hasn't changed, other law enforcement sources have leaked details of the investigation, though they have not been publicly confirmed from local authorities. In what is the most disturbing claim — though not a otally unexpected one — WKYC in Cleveland reports that all three women were forced to have sex with their captors, resulting in at least five pregnancies during their time in captivity. According to their sources, the pregnant women were beaten until they lost the babies, though it seems at least one (the daughter of Amanda Berry who was also rescued) survived.
Station WOIO also reports that the women were usually held in the basement, though one was in an upstairs room, and one of the rooms in the house had chains hanging from the ceiling.
Some of those who knew Castro have also come forward to say that he seemed like a normal guy who never gave off any suspicion of the secret he was hiding. He was apparently known around the local music scene and listed one band, Grupo Fuego, as one of his employers on his Facebook page. The group came forward to disavow Castro, saying he only played with them a couple of times and stopped working with him because he was always late for practice.
And in an odd twist, Castro's son, who also uses the name Ariel, wrote a newspaper article about the abductions and their effect on the local community. The story appeared in the Plain Press, a local community newspaper, in 2004. Because the father and son share the same name, search for the victim's name and Ariel Castro dug up the archived article. The son has not been accused of participating in or having any knowledge of the crime, but the connection is quite odd indeed.
Update, 9:31 p.m. Eastern: Police Apparently Missed Multiple Calls About Women on Dog Leashes in the Castros' Yard
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.