Ariel Castro, sentenced to life behind bars for the abduction, rape and torture of three women, has been found hanged in his prison cell.
Former school bus driver Ariel Castro, sentenced to life in prison for the abduction, rape and torture of three Cleveland women he held captive for 10 years in his house, was found dead in his Ohio prison cell late on Tuesday, a state corrections official said.
Castro (53) who was under protective custody in isolation from other inmates at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, was found hanged when prison staff went on their rounds at the facility, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokesperson JoEllen Smith said.
Castro was transferred to an area hospital and pronounced dead about 90 minutes later, she said.
Shocking details emerged about the three women's 10-year long kidnapping ordeal after they were rescued in May.
Amanda Berry (27), Gina DeJesus (23) and Michelle Knight (32) endured their captivity in the dungeon-like squalid confines of a house where they were raped, starved, beaten and kept in chains by the man who abducted them, authorities said when the women were found in May.
Castro's two brothers, initially arrested as suspects in the case, were not charged, and police said investigators had determined they had no knowledge of the abductions or captivity of the women.
Cries for help
The three victims, abducted separately from the surrounding neighbourhood and completely cut off from the outside world during their captivity, were found alive together when neighbours were alerted by cries for help from Berry.
She told police that her escape two days ago was her first chance to break free in the 10 years that she was imprisoned in the house, during which time she conceived and gave birth to a daughter, now 6, authorities said.
The little girl was rescued along with Berry, who was a day shy of her 17th birthday when she disappeared in 2003. DeJesus went missing at the age of 14 in 2004 and Knight was 20 years old when she vanished in 2002.
Records show Castro was divorced more than a decade ago and his ex-wife had since died. He is known to have at least one adult daughter and son.
In 2005, Castro was named in a complaint of domestic violence in a custody dispute with his ex-wife that accused him of breaking her nose twice, knocking out her tooth, dislocating her shoulder twice and threatening to kill her and her daughters several times. That complaint was eventually dismissed. – Reuters