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Cleveland Kidnapper Ariel Castro Hangs Himself In Jail Cell

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 4, 2013 5:25AM

Ariel Castro speaks at his sentencing hearing Aug. 1, 2013. (Photo credit: Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)

Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man who kidnapped, raped and held three women in captivity in his home for over a decade, was found hanging in his Ohio jail cell late Tuesday night.

Castro was being held at the Correction Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, serving a sentence of life in prison plus 1,000 years for the kidnappings and rapes of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. Castro pleaded guilty to 937 of 977 charges against him and avoided the death penalty. He switched between contrition and defiance when he was sentenced last month and blamed his actions on an addiction to pornography and being sexually abused by a family member. Michelle Knight, who was held captive the longest by Castro, read a statement at his sentencing where she said Castro's hell "is just beginning."

Cleveland's 19 Action News received a statement from the Ohio Department of Corrections announcing Castro's suicide.

Inmate Ariel Castro was found hanging in his cell this evening at 9:20 pm at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient. He was housed in protective custody which means he was in a cell by himself and rounds are required every 30 minutes at staggered intervals. Upon finding inmate Castro, prison medical staff began performing life saving measures. Shortly after he was transported to OSUMC where he was pronounced dead at 10:52 pm. A thorough review of this incident is underway and more information can be provided as it becomes available pending the status of the investigation.

Previous Chicagoist coverage of Ariel Castro and the Cleveland kidnappings.