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May 11 15 2:44 AM
amanda berry ariel castro, michelle knight cleveland kidnap
May 11 15 2:57 AM
May 11 15 9:00 AM
May 11 15 7:35 PM
on July 10, 1960, in Puerto Rico, Ariel Castro moved to Cleveland,
Ohio, as a child. It was in Cleveland that he later abducted three young
women: Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus. He kept the
women captive in his house for years, where he tormented and raped them.
Berry's escape on May 6, 2013, led to Castro's arrest. On August 1, he
was sent to prison for life plus 1,000 years. Castro was found hanged in
his prison cell on September 3, 2013, in Orient, Ohio.
Ariel Castro was born in Puerto Rico on July 10, 1960. As a child, he
moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where members of his extended family already
lived. In 1992, Castro bought a house at 2207 Seymour Avenue. He
initially lived there with his wife and four children. However, Castro
was allegedly violent with his wife and she left him in 1996, taking
custody of their children as well.
2002, Castro offered 20-year-old Michelle Knight a ride. Knight, who
knew one of Castro's daughters, accepted. After Castro convinced Knight
to come inside his house, he proceeded to rape her. Knight would be
Castro's captive for the next 11 years. In 2003, Castro offered to drive
Amanda Berry, then 16, home from her job at Burger King. Like Knight,
Berry knew Castro's children, and got into his car. She was also
kidnapped, assaulted and held captive. Castro repeated the same scenario
in 2004 with 14-year-old Gina DeJesus, who was a close friend of his
Castro kept the women chained in his basement
for years before moving them to barricaded rooms upstairs. Throughout
their captivity, Castro restrained the women and subjected them to
multiple sexual assaults. When Knight became pregnant, which happened
several times, Castro starved and beat her until she miscarried. He
allowed Berry's pregnancy to come to term, but forced her to give birth
inside a plastic swimming pool.
holding the women captive in his home, Castro maintained a seemingly
normal outside life. Family members still came to visit him, though he
used locks to keep them from going into the basement and other parts of
the house. He continued to work as a school bus driver—until he was
fired in November 2012—and played bass guitar with local groups. Castro
even attended vigils for DeJesus, where he met with anguished members of
May 6, 2013, Berry escaped from Castro's house. Police quickly freed
the other women and arrested Castro that same day. In July 2013, Castro
agreed to a plea deal that spared him from the death penalty. On July
26, he pleaded guilty to 937 charges, which included kidnapping, rape
and murder (the murder charge stemmed from his role in ending one of
Knight’s pregnancies). On August 1, 2013, Castro was sentenced to life
in prison without the possibility of parole, plus an additional 1,000
Since his arrest, Castro has shown little remorse for his
crimes. While in custody, he asked to see Berry's child, a request the
court denied. In court, Castro insisted, "I'm not a monster. I'm sick."
The three once-captive women, and Berry's daughter, are now living their
lives freely. As for Castro, as Knight told him at his sentencing
hearing, his "hell is just beginning."
a strange turn of events, Castro was found hanged in his prison cell at
the Correction Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, at 9:20 p.m. on
September 3, 2013. After prison medical staff tried unsuccessfully to
resuscitate Castro, he was transported to the Ohio State University
Wexner Medical Center, roughly 20 miles outside of Orient. At 10:52 p.m.
that evening, he was pronounced dead.
The following month,
speculation surfaced that Castro's death might not have been a suicide,
but rather, caused by auto-erotic asphyxiation—a sexual act in which an
individual achieves pleasure through choking themselves, ultimately
causing them to lose consciousness. Countering those assertions, the
medical examiner who conducted Castro's autopsy, Jan Gorniak of Ohio,
stated that she wholly believed that Castro had planned his death. "I
did the autopsy myself. I saw the ligature. I saw the pictures of the
cell," Gorniak said, according to a report by CNN. "It was a suicide."
May 11 15 8:56 PM
May 12 15 3:49 AM
May 14 15 9:00 AM
May 15 15 3:10 AM
May 15 15 3:17 AM
May 15 15 3:45 AM
Dan D 2 wrote:Hi Cathy, Great to see you back with such an interesting story as this one. I can't wait to get started on this, I haven't watched all of the video as yet but however I had to make you welcome first, Thanks for posting this.
So from my underatanding did they seek the death penalty for Ariel Castro? Imagine trapped inside that house with all these atrocities makes you wonder how he could have did this all that time--certainly not a spur of the momemnt & undoubtedly premediatated. I'm glad those three girls and the child survived. what an experience to go through.
May 15 15 1:47 PM
You said that so well. He was a coward. He was in a prison where he could take a shower, and get three square meals a day, and even medical care if he needed it, but he couldn't stand the prison that
was much worse than what he created for those young women. He had the gall to ask to see his youngest child by Amanda Berry and the judge told him, "No, that wouldn't be appropriate".
Amanda's mother went on a talk show where a famous psychic, Sylvia Brown, told her mother that was Amanda was dead. Amanda was devastated, and her mother lost
all hope and died of a broken heart, congestive heart failure.
So who was Ariel Castro to ask for anything? A complete and total narcissist.
Shar, I love your emails. I know I come off as a total know-it-all, and I don't mean to. So accept my apologies, Twinny, please. I'm just so
dead-set in my theories and beliefs I come off sounding like one.
May 15 15 2:09 PM
May 15 15 2:19 PM
4everjackw wrote:And not only that, Dan, Ariel Castro was a father to the girls that were friends with, Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry, and Michelle Knight knew. Gina, was actually best friends with Ariel Castro's daughter, and he was a friend of her dad! So that is why these girls trusted him because everyone knew him as a dad to the girls whom they were friends with,
As my mom said, "Who can you even trust these days????"
May 19 15 5:09 AM
May 20 15 3:01 PM
4everjackw wrote:Hey Shar and Dan :)
One of the things I like about this case is the survival of all these young women. Ariel Castro was a horrible coward. He used his daughters' relationship with the local neighborhood to abduct these girls
knowing they would trust him, because he was a dad, and a friend of one of the girls' fathers, Gina DeJesus. She was also best friends with one of his daughters as well.
I told one commentator who said something about molesters being, "trailer-trash", or scummy-looking people that monsters are not always obvious. In
most cases they are someone the child knows. That's the scary part about a situation like this.
AC also left a horrible legacy for his children. That have to live with this, too. He had the gall to even lead the prayer vigil for Gina Dejesus when she was missing, and
have her mother cry on his shoulder. He was truly a horrible, human being.
Shar, that was a very heartfelt poem and I can relate to it in some
ways. Ariel Castro was true monster with the things he did to Michelle.
I was going to call him
a "pig", but that would be an insult to pigs.
A friend of mine said tonight, "Those girls can't be as normal as they
seem after what they've been through". I think the word she was
searching for and meant
was "undamaged". It will take years of therapy to get this behind
them. I hope they stick to it, because there is no shame in taking
therapy to work through such
a terrible thing to have gone through. It did me a world of good, although I had been through nothing like that.
May 23 15 4:23 AM
Cathy, this is true, these girls are going to be dammaged, but they aren't broken. I can relate to what you mean about this poem & to be treated in let's just say, something you never could go through again. We must forget them because if we hang on to the past, we die a little each day. I hope these girls heal and come together so all three of them can see that he can't play mind games anymore. No young girl should have gone through what they went through. There are many Ariel Castro's out there.
May 26 15 8:42 PM
I love the way you said that, Shar. Damaged but not broken. I read
Michelle Knight's book and it was very hard to read the things AC did.
The place was filthy. Michelle wasn't allowed to bathe for a year.
Some of the stuff is so bad I can't even mention it. Very dark and evil
man. He even introduced these underage girls to alcohol. They drank
it to numb the
pain. What kept Michelle alive and going was she had to live for her son. She was on her way
to social services to get her son back and couldn't find the address
when Ariel Castro offered a ride and said he would bring her there,
but he was insistent she looked at puppies his dog never had.
She had to watch Amanda and Gina's family look for them while her own
said nothing. He had the girls rename themselves when Jocelyn was
born. When Michelle said she would rename herself, "Angel", he told Michelle, "You're too ugly to be an angel"...Wow.
The movie on Lifetime couldn't cover all the abuse which was too graphic, but it was very hard to watch.
May 30 15 3:56 AM
Jun 8 15 2:06 AM
Jun 9 15 5:27 AM
4everjackw wrote:You have that right, Shar. And who was he to call anyone "ugly"?
He was no prize himself. Ugly and twisted on the inside most of all. I was just so sickened with what I read I don't know how those girls could stand it.
When she did bathe after a year, the water ran black for awhile. I was pretty shocked with the alcohol. That was never mentioned in the press.
I haven't read Amanda and Gina's book, yet, but it will be interesting to hear their POV as well. I had watched parts of the trial last year
but didn't pay attenti and th way he stands so timelesson, so I'll have to watch them again. I'm waiting for my avatar to change with Ramona's she made for me, I just love it!
Jun 9 15 6:01 AM
Martin admitted to investigators that she should have freed the two
girls, Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo, who were eight years old when
they were incarcerated on December 6, 1995 while her husband was away in
"I know I should have gone in and said 'Come', but that
didn't happen," Martin told investigating magistrate Jacques Langlois at
the trial into a spate of abductions, rapes and murders in 1996, which
opened last week in the south-eastern Belgian town of Arlon.
But she said: "If I told Marc they had got away, he was going to kill me."
has been on trial in Arlon since last week over a series of
abductions, rapes and murders in 1995-6 which convulsed Belgium and
shocked the world. In all six girls were abducted, four of whom died.
who was convicted in 1989 of helping Dutroux to kidnap girls for rape,
faces 10 years to life in jail if found guilty in the Arlon trial.
Last week the former school teacher, her voice
turning emotional, acknowledged that she failed to follow Dutroux's
orders to feed Julie and Melissa while he was imprisoned for car theft
from December 1995 to March 1996.
In her testimony then she described her fear that the girls "like wild animals would come to attack me".
Langlois on Tuesday reported that Dutroux's wife said she visited the
house at Marcinelle, near Charleroi in southern Belgium, after the girls
were trapped in the secret cellar hole.
"The cellar attracted me.
I listened. I heard them laughing, but I never saw them and I never
talked to them. I went downstairs on all fours, backwards so that I
could get out again more quickly," she told investigators.
January 1996, Martin, who said she thought her husband had left enough
food and drink for the girls for two months, decided to take some more
She managed to open the 200 kilogram door of the cellar
hole and slipped a few bottles of water and two bags of food into the
The judge used a projector to illustrate the next
crucial moments - as she heaved the cement door back in front of the
hole, blocked up a gap with plasterboard, and placed two sacks of coal
against the makeshift barricade.
The brutally abused bodies of
Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo were unearthed from a Dutroux property
over a year later. Autopsies showed they had starved to death.
on Tuesday, lawyers representing Dutroux called for a former Belgian
minister to be summoned for questioning at the trial.
Xavier Magnee called for former justice minister Marc Verwilghen to give
evidence in his role as former head of a parliamentary probe which in
1996 raised questions about police and judicial handling of the case.
lawyer said Mr Verwilghen was the only one who could shed light on
contradictory evidence given by a former investigating magistrate in the
case and three former police officers over alleged "manipulations" of
Monday 18 April 2005 00.02 BST
Can this really be the person who survived more than 80 days chained
by the neck in the squalid dungeon of probably the world's most
notorious paedophile? The gap-toothed 12-year-old girl who set off on
her bike for school one May morning and who, for the next three months,
was starved half to death and repeatedly raped and sexually abused?
Then she fixes you with her eyes, a clear, frank and level gaze. She
tells you plainly, bluntly, matter-of-factly, that no, of course she's
not a hero; that quite honestly all this care and compassion is very
nearly as hard to take as captivity; that there really is no point at
all in crying over spilt milk anyway. In her determination, her
detachment and her lucidity, the girl is extraordinary. When she gets a
bit older (she laughs out loud at the idea), she'll make a great agony
"Look, I didn't ask for any of this," she protests, puffing hard on
an umpteenth fag. "I'm not a star, a singer or an actor or something.
OK, I'm quite proud of myself, I suppose, for standing up to what I
stood up to. And I'm proud of myself for standing up to what I'm
standing up to now. I've dealt with it all fairly well, I suppose. But I
haven't actually done anything."
That is not true, of course. What she has done, principally, is
resist. She resisted Dutroux, who last year was sentenced to life
imprisonment for the kidnapping and rape of six young girls and the
murder of four of them. Throughout her long weeks as his hostage, when,
by his own confession, he would, among many other abuses, force her to
perform oral sex and then give her a sweet "to take away the taste", she
never stopped getting at him, pestering him, complaining, moaning,
"I'm very strong-willed," she says. "I know what I want and I know
what's important for me. I won't ever give up if that's what's at stake.
In his cellar, I knew what was important for me was to see my family
again, my parents, my sisters. So I didn't give up; I kept going."
After it was over, when the gendarmes finally hauled her out of
Dutroux's cellar on August 15 1996, along with Laetitia Delhez, who had
been held there for six days, she continued to resist. This time, it was
against the well-intentioned efforts of just about everyone - her
family, her friends, the medical profession, the police and more or less
the entire shocked and guilt-stricken Belgian nation - to appropriate
her suffering as if it was their own.
The doctors and the psychiatrists she rejected outright. "The
psychiatrist was the worst," she says. "I didn't want to go, my mother
made me, and I only went once. This woman showed me splotches of ink,
asked me what they were. I said, splotches of ink. She showed me a
picture of a little girl with flowers, asked me what it was. I said, a
little girl with flowers. She said, is that all? I said, of course it
is! That's the day I understood that if I wasn't careful I really would
go mad - not with what had happened, but with all the whys and the
She resisted her parents too, particularly her mother, who wanted
badly to be confided in, to share her burden. "I just wasn't going to do
it," she says. "There was no point. It had happened, it was over, end
of story. Telling her about it would not have changed that, and it would
only have made her feel 10 times worse."
For nine years now, in fact, she has stood firm against pressure from
all quarters to look, speak and behave like a victim: at the first
possible opportunity after her release, she got back on her bike again
and set off for school, alone. She is still resisting the pitying looks
she gets in her home town, the comments, the letters. She will not play
the role of "la pauvre petite Sabine" in which Belgium's, and then the
world's, media cast her.
"It's hard, really it's hard," she says, "though it's getting slowly
better now. But I still get stared at in the train every morning on the
way to work. I get asked for my autograph. I get long, long letters from
women who say they don't understand how I can act like I do, how
selfish I must be at heart, how I'm not sharing enough. Or from other
rape victims who say that they sympathise, they can understand. It just
makes me furious. There is nothing to understand. It happened and that's
the end of it."
The act of resistance for which Sabine Dardenne is most remembered
came in the packed courtroom in Arlon, Belgium, about this time last
year. At the end of her hour-long testimony during Dutroux's trial, she
was asked if there were any questions she wanted to ask.
It was an electric moment. Standing feet away from her former
torturer in his plate-glass box - the man who swore to her that her
parents had abandoned her and refused to pay a ransom; the man who, when
she was haemorrhaging from his assaults, gave her a pile of old Pampers
to wear - she said: "I would like to know, coming from the man who has
said I was pigheaded, why he didn't liquidate me."
Dutroux's mumbled reply was that he had "grown attached to her". She
could, she recalls, barely contain her laughter. She can barely contain
it now. "He was just so pathetic," she says. "I thought he would try to
manipulate me again, like he did in the dungeon, but he wasn't even
capable of that. He was tiny. He was abject. He couldn't tell the truth,
not even once in his life. He didn't frighten me in the least. He made
When Dardenne finally decided to write a book about her ordeal, it
was in part simply to get everyone off her back. She would like nothing
better, she insists, than to be forgotten: "It annoys me intensely that I
can't really go out in the evening, that every time I get asked my
name, at the dentist's or the video store, someone says, 'Dardenne?
You're Sabine Dardenne?'"
I Choose to Live, published in French last year, was book of the year
in Belgium, has sold extremely well in France, and has so far been
translated (or is being translated) into 22 languages. It is entirely in
its author's image: direct, unpretentious, chatty, feet-on-the-ground.
Sometimes shockingly so.
But how much of that is her, and how much a defence mechanism? When
Dardenne talks of Dutroux, she never calls him by his name, but nor does
she ever slip into hyperbole. He is never "the monster of Charleroi",
"the butcher", "the torturer". He is always "le con" (the idiot), "le
fou" (the madman), "le pauvre type" (that pathetic little man),
"l'autre" (that guy), just occasionally "le sale connard" (the dirty
bastard). He does not, she says when asked for an explanation, merit
being called by his name.
"Yes, I am matter-of-fact, I am Little Miss Tout-le-monde," she says.
"That's me, I'm afraid; it's the way I'm made. But I suppose it is also
a strategy of a kind. You have to detach yourself in order to move on.
You have to stand back, to keep your distance. You can't just spend the
rest of your life crying. You can't always live in the past. That shocks
some people, I know."
Today, apart from being recognised in the street and having to submit
to press interviews to promote her book, Dardenne, nine years on from
her ordeal, leads what looks like a perfectly normal life. She has a job
(in council offices in Brussels) that she loathes. This month, she is
sitting the police entrance exam (not because of what happened to her,
but because her father was a gendarme and it has been a dream of hers
since she was very small).
She has a boyfriend, with whom she has been for more than two years
now and is very happy (although they sometimes row). She first went out
with a boy when she was 15, and found it "very difficult at first". The
whole sex business was tricky, of course, but she dealt with it. She had
to set a girlfriend straight when, during a teenager's "how far did you
go" conversation in the playground, the friend called Dutroux her
But on the whole, she insists, she is just like any other
21-year-old. "Let's see, what would be different now if that
shit-for-brains hadn't crossed my path?" she wonders. "Well, I'm sure
I'd have a boyfriend, though getting him might have been a little bit
easier. My family relations are rather strained, but that would probably
have happened sooner or later anyway. Work would be the same. Maybe I'm
a little bit more suspicious, a little bit more demanding of people.
But basically, I think I'm me."
Leafing through her book, recalling the horrors that were recounted
during the trial, it is difficult to accept that that can be so. Are
there really no nightmares, no cold sweats, no foul images flitting
through the mind when they are least welcome? "Nope, none of that," she
says cheerily. "My head's screwed on straight. There's no point taking
pity on yourself, after all. You live with it, you move on."
But there is, perhaps, one difference: at home is a big trunk crammed
with all the thousands of newspaper articles, all the video-recordings
of all the hundreds of television programmes made about "l'affaire
Dutroux". She doesn't look in there, not very often. But when she does,
or when she re-reads the diaries she kept while she was chained up in
his cellar, her reaction is always the same.
"Those diaries, I can read them 15 times and they're still not me,"
she says. "They're a 12-year-old girl who was once me." One day, maybe,
her children will want to know what is in the trunk, and she will say:
"There. Have a look." It's no big deal, after all. Just the story of a
young girl who had the misfortune, once upon a time, to run into a dirty
old sickhead. And that young girl no longer exists.
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