Cleveland Kidnap Suspect’s Bond Set at $8M
(CLEVELAND) — Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man accused of abducting three young women and raping them in his home for a decade, appeared in court Thursday for his arraignment.
The day before, he was charged with four charges of kidnap, one for each woman and the 6-year-old child whom one of his alleged victims delivered while in captivity. He was also charged with three counts of rape.
Bail was set Thursday at $2 million per case, for a total of $8 million.
Castro is an unemployed, former school bus driver.
Castro, who is on suicide watch, did not enter a plea or speak. Unshaven and wearing a dark-blue prison jumpsuit, he kept his head down through the proceedings and signed documents with shackled hands.
“The situation has turned,” assistant prosecutor Brian Murphy told the court. “Castro is the captive in captivity.”
Castro likely will face additional charges after a grand jury hearing.
Despite years of looking for the women — Amanda Berry, 27, Michele Knight, 32, and Gina DeJesus, 23 — individually abducted between 2002 and 2004, there were no leads in any of the cases until Monday, when a neighbor heard Berry screaming from behind a locked door and helped free the women.
Castro’s two brothers, Onil Castro, 50, and Pedro Castro, 54, who were arrested with him, were not charged in connection with this case. Both men appeared in court on old misdemeanor charges.
Onil was given credit for time he served while being questioned since Monday. Charges against Pedro were dropped. They were both released Thursday morning.
Court documents released Wednesday give the clearest clues yet into the investigation on how the women were treated in captivity. Ariel Castro lured each victim from the street and into his car, according to the documents.
Knight was abducted first in 2002 and brought to the kidnap suspect’s modest two-story home on Seymour Avenue. She would later be joined by Berry in 2003 and DeJesus a year later.
Police made it clear they believe that each kidnap victim was “repeatedly sexually assaulted by the defendant,” and that the abuse occurred “during the entire course of captivity,” according to charging documents filed in court Wednesday.
The women were initially chained in the basement and sexually assaulted, a senior official from the Cleveland Police Department told ABC News. Later, when their “spirits were broken,” they were allowed to be in other parts of the house, the official said.
Knight, Ariel Castro’s first alleged kidnapping victim, told police she was impregnated five times by him, ABC News affiliate WEWS-TV reported. In each case, she reportedly was made to abort the fetus when he punched her in the belly.
Berry, however, delivered her tormentor’s apparent child six years ago in a small inflatable pool “so the mess was easy to clean up,” a law enforcement source told WEWS.
The little girl, named Jocelyn, was born Christmas Day in 2006, the mother told her family in a phone call on Tuesday, according to WEWS.
Jocelyn, police say, was the captive who had the most freedom, officials said. The 6-year-old left the house occasionally with the suspect, Cleveland Chief of Police Michael McGrath told ABC News.
Police said they were conducting a paternity test and were not yet certain the baby was fathered by Ariel Castro.
“She did leave the house. I have information that she did leave the house occasionally with the suspect,” McGrath said Wednesday.
Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said the women could remember being outside only twice during their entire time in captivity. When those rare moments took place, the women were allowed to go only as far as the backyard and had to don wigs, sunglasses and keep their heads down, police said.
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