Ariel Castro, 52, is the man accused of kidnapping Amanda Berry , Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight and holding them hostage for 10 years in a dungeon at his home in Cleveland, Ohio — where they were bound in chains and allegedly used as sex slaves.
Castro is the owner of the house of horrors at 2207 Seymour Avenue — which he bought for $12,000 in 1992 from Edwin and Antonia Castro — but two of his brothers, Pedro, 54, and Onil, 50, have also been arrested in the case.
On his Facebook page, Castro says he became a grandfather for the fifth time on April 11. It’s also confirmed he has at least one son and daughter and is divorced from a violent marriage to a woman who later died.
Sources say five pregnancies took place in the basement lair where Castro kept his victims. While Amanda Berry’s 6-year-old child was discovered in Monday’s miraculous rescue, but there is no other sign, or remains, of young children at the home.
Here’s what you should know about Ariel Castro…
1. His Daughter is in Prison for Trying to Kill a Baby
In 2008, Castro’s daughter, Emily, 25, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the attempted murder of her 11-month-old baby, Janyla, reports Daily News. She tried to slash the baby’s throat, FortWayne.com reported in 2008:
[A court] sentenced [Emily] Castro to 30 years in prison but suspended the last five years, to be served on probation. She will be required to seek ongoing mental health treatment as a condition of her probation.
Emily Castro lived in Indiana at the time of the incident.
2. He Once Brutally Attacked His Former Wife
Police once investigated Castro for a serious domestic violence incident in which Castro is alleged to have severely beaten his then-wife, Grimilda Figueroa. Cleveland.com reports:
Figueroa suffered two broken noses, broken ribs, a knocked-out tooth, a blood clot on the brain and two dislocated shoulders, according to a 2005 filing in Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court. Her attorney requested that a judge “keep (Castro) from threatening to kill [Figueroa].”
Figueroa died in April 2012 at age 48. Her son wrote in the funeral home’s guestbook:
You are gone too soon, but your suffering is over. Rejoice in God’s paradise, and I want the full tour when I get there. Love you always.
3. His Son Wrote a Story About Gina DeJesus in 2004
While a student at Bowling Green State University, Ariel “Anthony” Castro, 31, son of Ariel Sr., wrote a story detailing how the search for Gina DeJesus had changed their neighborhood forever. He even interviewed DeJesus’ mother, Nancy Ruiz. The story appeared in The Plain Press newspaper. The paper’s editor, Chuck Hoven, confirmed to WKYC that Castro Jr. wrote the article for a college project.
The younger Castro spoke to WKYC after his father was revealed to be the main suspect in the kidnapping:
This is beyond comprehension. … I’m truly stunned right now.
On Castro Jr.’s Facebook page, this image was posted:
4. He’s a Local Musician
Castro was known in the Cleveland area as a session bass-guitarist, reports USA Today, playing for various group at different times. On his Facebook page he lists his job as “Grupo Fuego.” That band released a statement via their Facebook page distancing themselves from Castro:
The band’s manager, Miguel Quinones, told USA Today:
The only thing I remember about him was that he was always late to practice.
His lateness was cited as the reason he never became an official member of the group.
5. He’s an Ex-School Bus Driver Who Once Left a Child on a Bus
Then, in January 2004, Cleveland Safety Director Martin Flask told reporters:
… police went to the address after Castro reportedly — either intentionally or accidentally — left a child on a bus, but were unsuccessful in making contact with anyone in the home. An investigation found no criminal intent by Castro.
The child was left on a school bus that was driven by Castro, who was employed a school bus driver for the city of Cleveland.
He was fired in November 2012 for making an illegal U-turn with children on his bus, reports the Cleveland Leader.
Flask went on to say that in 2000, records show, Castro reported a street fight outside his home.
6. Police Blew Off Reports of Naked Woman Crawling in the Yard at His Home
Neighbor Elsie Cintron told the BBC that she had previously informed police that her granddaughter told her she had seen a “naked lady crawling in the backyard of his house.”
The AP further reports Cintron saying the police didn’t take her claims “seriously.”
The Daily Mail reports additional neighbors have an even more shocking story, also ignored by cops:
The women … called police because they saw three young girls crawling on all fours naked with dog leashes around their necks. Three men were controlling them in the backyard.
7. Chains and Bondage Were Found at the Home
Castro’s three hostages were kept in the three separate rooms in the house’s basement, reports NewsChannel5 in Cleveland. A source told the station that:
Ariel Castro kept Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, at times, tied up with the chains and tape. … They were possibly untied at different times.
8. He Was Seen Walking With Amanda Berry’s Child
Castro would walk up and down his street at Seymour Avenue with the young child, sometimes bringing it to the playground. He reportedly told neighbors that the child was his girlfriend’s daughter.
9. Most Neighbors Never Saw it Coming
Charles Ramsey, the heroic neighbor who helped Amanda Berry escape to make the 911 call, claimed he had “eaten ribs” with Castro.
Another neighbor, Victor Pratts, says that Castro was passionate about his motorcycle and that:
We never thought that man would do anything to anybody; he was a bus driver.
Mike Iwais, who lives 200 feet from where Amanda Berry was found, said:
I used to see him walking around all the time, but I never saw nothing crazy. This is unbelievable. It’s a miracle they found him, and it’s a miracle those girls are alive. It’s a blessing from God.
10. He’s Being Held with His Two Brothers
Castro is being held with his brothers, Pedro and Onil, at Cleveland City Jail, Central Prison Unit. Charges will be announced Wednesday, May 8.