Cleveland Kidnapper Ariel Castro Found Dead in Prison Cell

Angelo Merendino/Getty Images(ORIENT, Ohio) -- Convicted Cleveland kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro has died after he was found hanged in his prison cell, Ohio Department of Corrections confirmed to ABC News.

Castro, 53, was found hanging in his cell at Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, on Tuesday at approximately 9:20 p.m. local time, corrections spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said.

Upon finding Castro in his cell, facility staff tried to resuscitate him, according to Smith.  Castro was taken to Ohio State University Medical Center and was pronounced dead at 10:52 p.m.

"Inmate Ariel Castro was found hanging in his cell this evening at 9:20 p.m. at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient.  He was housed in protective custody which means he was in a cell by himself and rounds are required every 30 minutes at staggered intervals," Smith said in a statement.

"A thorough review of this incident is underway and more information can be provided as it becomes available pending the status of the investigation," the statement concluded.

Castro was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 1,000 years by an Ohio judge on Aug. 1.  Castro, a former school bus driver, kidnapped Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus between 2002 and 2004 and imprisoned them, sometimes restrained by chains, in his Cleveland home.

Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping, rape, assault and aggravated murder.  The plea deal spared Castro the death penalty because he was accused of the aggravated murder of a fetus after forcibly causing an abortion in one of his victims that he is accused of impregnating.

The women escaped on May 6, when Berry broke part of a door and yelled to neighbors for help.  Castro was arrested that evening.

The home where Castro held his victims was torn down last month as part of the plea deal.

At Castro's sentencing hearing last month, he shocked a Cleveland court by saying he was "not a monster," "lived a normal life" and that the sex he had with the three women he held captive for more than a decade was "consensual."

Castro's statement came after Knight confronted him for the "hell" she endured in his house for 11 years.

Castro showed no reaction to the remarks by Knight.  Instead, he gave a rambling speech in which he depicted himself as a person who had "everything going" for himself but was plagued by an addiction to porn.

During the hearing, detectives told how he captured the three women and subjected them to a decade of torture, which one woman wrote in a diary was like being held as a "prisoner of war."

While in captivity, Berry gave birth to her now 6-year-old daughter, who Castro fathered.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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