Cleveland Kidnapping Suspect Hid Dark Side, His Uncle Says
By: ABC Digital
(CLEVELAND) — Ariel Castro is a former bus driver who loved music, playing with children and his bass guitar. He was also skilled at keeping a dark side hidden, said his uncle, who lived down the block from the home his nephew owned where three missing women bolted to freedom on Monday.
“Nobody in the neighborhood or in the family could imagine that something like this would happen,” Julio Castro told ABC News.
He said he had no indication three women were living inside the modest two-story home Castro had owned since 1992.
Georgina “Gina” DeJesus, 23, Amanda Berry, 27, and Michele Knight, 32, were found alive Monday night after they vanished a decade ago near their Cleveland homes. Berry escaped from the home at about 6 p.m. with the help of Charles Ramsey, a neighbor. She then called police.
Authorities arrested Ariel Castro, 52, and his brothers, Pedro Castro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50.
Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said at a news conference Tuesday charges would be filed within 36 hours of the three suspects’ arrests. It was not immediately known what charges the men could face or what roles the brothers allegedly played in the crime.
Castro’s Facebook page says he has five grandchildren, but it’s not clear what his marital status was or how many children he has.
Julio Castro said the alleged crime had brought “shame” to his family, as he tried to understand how his nephew kept his dark side concealed from other family and neighbors.
“Apparently he was living two personalities,” Castro said. The uncle said the personality that he saw was “The personality that was dealing with kids and driving the bus, the personality of being a musician and playing the bass.”
Charles Ramsey, the neighbor who helped Berry break free, said he’d barbecued with Castro and never suspected something amiss.
“He just comes out to his backyard, plays with the dogs, tinkering with his cars and motorcycles and goes back in the house,” Ramsey said Monday. “Sometimes you look and then look away because he’s not doing nothing but average stuff. Ain’t nothing exciting about him. Well, until today.”
Ariel Castro was arrested on a domestic violence charge in 1993, which was later dropped, ABC News affiliate WEWS reported. That same year, Castro pled guilty to disorderly conduct, according to WEWS.
Police said they combed through records and found they had been called to Castro’s home in March 2000, years before any of the women were abducted after a fight was reported on the street.
After Berry and Knight disappeared, Castro had one unrelated brush with police, in January 2004, when he “inadvertently” left a child on a school bus while working as a driver, Tomba said.
He was interviewed, Tomba said, and after authorities realized there was no criminal intent, the case was closed. Other than minor traffic infractions, it was the last contact police would have with Castro until his arrest on Monday.
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