Cleveland kidnapping house had chains, ropes, locks


by ABC News

Posted on May 8, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 8 at 12:23 PM

(ABC News) -- Chains, locks and lengths of rope were discovered inside the Cleveland home where three kidnapped woman were held in captivity for 10 years, suggesting an added element to the horror of a decade spent imprisoned.

Investigators have not yet confirmed if and how the materials were used, Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath told ABC News.

FBI investigators have completed their search of the home, the chief said, as teams of interrogators get to work questioning the freed women and the three brothers who are suspects in the women's disappearances and imprisonment.

Those men, Ariel Castro, 52, who owned the home on Seymour Avenue, and his brothers Onil Castro, 50, and Pedro Castro, 54, are expected to be charged sometime today.

"The interview process with the victims and the suspects started last night and is continuing this morning," McGrath said. "The investigative team will come together later today and package what they have and present it to the city prosecutor."

Neighbors describe Ariel Castro as friendly, often seen outside tinkering with cars and even attending vigils for the missing girls. Family members and court documents show a different side of the suspect.

Castro was violent, according to family members of his late wife Grimilda Figueroa. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a family member called him a "a monster."

 Ariel Castro "was nice when he was outside but behind closed doors he was an animal. Two faced. He had done terrible things to [Grimilda] and treated her like trash," the source said.

Castro, a fired school bus driver, was arrested in 1993 on a domestic violence charge that was later dropped.

The women, Michelle Knight, 32, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Amanda Berry, 27, as well as a 6-year-old daughter Berry conceived while in captivity dramatically broke free from the home on Monday evening, screaming from behind a locked door until neighbors helped kick down the door.

All three women and the girl, Jocelyn, were taken to Metro Medical Center on Monday night. DeJesus, Berry and Jocelyn were discharged and reunited with their families on Tuesday. Knight remains in the hospital in "good condition," according to authorities.

The women, McGrath said, are currently "doing very well under these circumstances."

"It really is amazing," he said. "It has to be a tribute to the girls to be perfectly honest with you. They must be some really, really strong individuals."

The women were given a brief reprieve to meet with the friends and family members who have searched for them for a decade before a specialized unit of FBI agents trained in questioning victim-witnesses began interviewing them.

Since being discharged from the hospital, Berry and DeJesus were taken to safe houses and given FBI protection.

Family members said they have been calling and visiting with the women, who some people gave up for dead years ago.

"I didn't think she was dead. No, never," Berry's father John Berry said. "Keep hope. Keep hope. Don't give up till you know because I never gave up."

All three women were abducted independently between 2002 and 2004. Berry vanished in 2003 when she was 16 while on her way home from a job at Burger King.

DeJesus, then 14, disappeared the following year while walking home from school.

John Berry said he knew deep down in his heart that his daughter's "rough and tough" attitude would keep her alive. That's why he spent years putting posters up in every store window, knowing he would one day get that call.

His former wife, Louwana Miller, worked hard to bring their daughter home, pleading with authorities to follow every tip. Miller died in 2006 at the age of 43 after being hospitalized with pancreatitis. John Berry suspects she died of a broken heart.

"There's no way to explain. It's the best thing that ever happened to me. Best feeling I ever had," Berry said.

Knight, who vanished in 2002 when she was 20, is expected to be released from the hospital later today. Knight's mother, Barbara, revealed that when her daughter disappeared, she filed a police report, but no one took her seriously.

"I had a caseworker tell me that maybe she doesn't want me to be involved with her life anymore," Knight told Cleveland's Fox affiliate WJW-TV.