Ariel Castro Cause of Death: How Did the Cleveland Kidnapper Die?

Ariel Castro

Getty Ariel Castro

Strange circumstances surrounded the death of Ariel Castro, who was found dead in his cell about a month after he was sentenced in the kidnap, rape and torture of Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight.

Castro died by suicide and was found hanging in his cell September 3, 2015. About one month earlier, he was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years in prison. The circumstances surrounding his death initially led investigators to question whether he died accidentally by auto-erotic asphyxiation, but an investigation concluded with a suicide ruling in his cause of death, according to a coroner’s report. You can read the full coroner’s report filed in Ariel Castro’s death here. You can read the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Operation Support Center After-Action Review Report here

Here’s what you need to know:


Ariel Castro Was Put on Mental Health Watch Because his Case Was Widely Known

Ariel Castro was put on a constant mental health watch when he was sent to Lorain Correctional Institution August 2, 2013. But the reason for the mental health care was because Castro was involved in a high-profile case, not because he expressed suicidal thoughts or had a diagnosis that might indicate a propensity toward suicidal ideation, such as depression. He told staff during his intake that he was not experiencing suicidal thoughts.

“Inmate Castro entered DRC at Lorain Correctional Institution (LorCI) onAugust 2, 2013 at 6:25 p.m.,” a report said. “Castro receives initial mental health and medical screenings. He is put on a constant mental health watch because of his high notoriety case, not because of any suicidal thoughts, behaviors or other indications such as depression. He was evaluated again by a mental health professional on August 3 and 4, 2013.On August 5, 2013 at 8:43 a.m., he was seen by a mental health professional and watch precautions were discontinued because there were no clinical reasons for same. He was prepared at LorCI for transfer to CRC.”

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Operation Support Center completed an After-Action Review Report on Ariel Castro. You can read the report in full here. He was in solitary confinement at the time of his death.


Ariel Castro Was Found Dead With His Pants Down & a Bible Open to John

The circumstances surrounding Ariel Castro’s death led officials to believe he may have choked himself to death accidentally by auto-erotic suffocation. However, it was later determined that Castro died by suicide, according to a coroner’s report. Castro was found dead in his cell, hanging, with his pants around his ankles and no underwear. Near his body, a Bible was opened to John 2 and 3.

“The Team reviewed several sources of information in an attempt to determine the motivation for the self-inflicted death because Castro left no suicide note and had previously shown no suicidal ideations in multiple levels of assessment,” the report said. He was found in his cell with a Bible open to John Chapters 2 and 3. Additionally, he had pictures of his family out and arranged in a poster-board fashion. He was hanging from a hinge in the window of his cell by a sheet wrapped around his neck. His pants and underwear were pulled down to his ankles. The relevance of this finding is unclear. These facts, however, were relayed to the Ohio State Highway Patrol for consideration of the possibility of auto-erotic asphyxiation. No other immediate observations about the scene led to conclusions about the motivation for the self-inflicted death.”

An investigation later determined his pants were around his ankles because they often fell, and he rarely wore underwear. A note which officials described as a suicide note was also found in his cell, according to CNN. The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Operation Support Center completed an After-Action Review Report on Ariel Castro. You can read the report in full here.


An Investigation Ruled Out Auto-Erotic Asphyxiation & Determined Ariel Castro Died by Suicide

Although there were some questions into whether Ariel Castro killed himself intentionally, an investigation determined Castro’s cause of death was suicide by hanging. You can read the full coroner’s report here.

The report says, in part:

I, Jan M. Gorniak D.O., Coroner of said County, having diligently inquired, do true presentment make in what manner
Ariel Castro, whose body was at the Coroner’s Office on the 4th day of September, 2013 came to his death. The said
Ariel Castro was never married, 53 years of age, a resident of Cleveland, OH, was of the white race, and had brown eyes,
brown-gray hair, beard and moustache and was 67 inches in length, and weighed 168 pounds.

Upon full inquiry based on all the known facts, I find that the said Ariel Castro came to his death officially on the 3rd
day of September, 2013 at The Ohio State University Medical Center, 410 West 10th Avenue, Columbus, Franklin
County, OH and was officially pronounced dead at 2252 hours by Dr. Eric Adkins. There is information that on
September 3, 2013, Mr. Castro was found unresponsive, by corrections officers, hanging in his jail cell at Correctional
Reception Center, 1 1271 St Rt 762, Orient OH. It was reported that cardiopulmonary resuscitation was conducted by
corrections medical staff. Med Care emergency medical services responded and transported him to the aforementioned
hospital emergency department. The Coroner’s office was notified and investigator Amanda Alvarez responded to the
scene. Trax Management was dispatched. This man was then transported to the Coroner’s office where an autopsy was
performed. The death in this case was the end result of hanging and was suicidal in nature.

While there were some questions as to whether Castro died accidentally, investigation revealed evidence that suggested his death was a suicide. He was found without underwear and his pants around his ankles, but witnesses told investigators Castro had trouble keeping his pants up and rarely wore underwear, according to CNN. A note was also found in his cell, which investigators called a suicide note.

It was dated September 3 – the day of his death – and said that those who confessed with their heart “will be saved,” CNN reported.

“God loves you,” Castro wrote in all capital letters, “for all are sinners, we all fall short of the glory of God. Christ is my saviour and yours!!”

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