September 4, 2013 - 10:01 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The man who held three women captive in his home for nearly a decade before one escaped has been found dead and is believed to have committed suicide, a prison official said, according to The Associated Press.
Ariel Castro, 53, was found hanging in his cell at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, a community located south of Columbus in central Ohio, JoEllen Smith, Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokesman, said early Wednesday, Sept 4.
Prison medical staff performed CPR before Castro was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
He was in protective custody because of the notoriety of his case, meaning he was checked every 30 minutes, but was not on suicide watch, Smith said.
Former school bus driver Castro, sentenced to life in prison for the abduction, rape and torture of three Cleveland women he held captive for years in his house.
In handing down a sentence in August, Judge Michael Russo told the kidnapper there was no place in the world for his brand of criminal. Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts, including murder and kidnapping, in exchange for the death penalty being taken off the table.
The charges stem from his kidnapping, rape and assault of three women: Michelle Knight, abducted in 2002; Georgina DeJesus, abducted in 2004; and Amanda Berry; abducted in 2003. Castro is the father of Berry's 6-year-old girl, DNA tests confirmed.
At his sentencing, Castro told the court that he had been "driven by sex", adding: "I'm not a violent predator… I'm not a monster, I'm a normal person. I'm just sick. I have an addiction, just like an alcoholic has an addiction."
Castro appeared to blame the victims and accused them of lying about their treatment. He went on to say that none of the women was a virgin when he abducted them and that they wanted sex and there was "harmony" in the "happy household."
All three women kept diaries with Castro's permission, providing many of the details of their abuse.
"I cried every night. I was so alone. I worried what would happen to me and the other girls every day," said Knight, 32, the woman who was held the longest at Castro's house. "I will live on. You will die a little every day… I spent 11 years in hell. Now, your hell is just beginning."