Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man behind the kidnapping of three women 10 years ago, was found hanging in his prison cell on Tuesday night by Ohio correction officials, and speculation is rife that he committed suicide after being told that he would not see his daughter again.
Castro was held at the Correctional Reception Centre in Orient, Ohio, and, last month, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in addition to 1,000 years without the possibility of parole for abducting three women -- Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus -- and keeping them captive in his home for a decade.
Officials have launched an investigation into the circumstances leading to Castro’s death.
Berry, who along with the other women was repeatedly raped over the years by Castro, gave birth to Jocelyn, now six, while in captivity and according to a report by UK’s Mirror, 53-year-old Castro idolized his daughter.
“Ever since he was arrested, all Ariel wanted was to see Jocelyn,” a source close to Castro told Mirror. “He treated the girls like animals, but he idolized his daughter. Often he would take her out of the house, telling people she was his girlfriend’s daughter.”
“It was always very suspicious. He treated her like his own daughter. None of us knew she actually was. Initially he asked to see her, but when that didn’t work he begged. He was told once and for all he would never see Jocelyn again, which must have left him thinking he had nothing else to live for,” the source added.
According to reports, Castro’s older children have already disowned him, and only his mother and sister have been to the prison to seen him.
Castro was taken off suicide watch in June, but his legal department was quoted by the Mirror as saying that more precautions should have been taken by officials against a possible suicide.
“There’s no way we’re going to let this go,” Craig Weintraub, Castro’s lawyer, told Mirror. “I understand that the public in general is probably going to say good riddance, but we expect that the person would be protected when they’re institutionalized.”
All three women who were kidnapped by Castro have declined to comment on his death.