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Nation/World

September 5, 2013

Ohio man who held women captive commits suicide

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The man who held three women captive in his home for nearly a decade before one escaped and alerted authorities has been found dead and is believed to have committed suicide, a prison official said.

Ariel Castro, 53, was found hanging in his cell around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, located south of Columbus in central Ohio, JoEllen Smith, Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman, said early yesterday.

Prison medical staff performed CPR before Castro was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead around 10:50 p.m.

He was in protective custody because of the notoriety of his case, meaning he was checked every 30 minutes, but was not on suicide watch, Smith said. She said suicide watch entails constant observation.

Castro was also watched closely in Cuyahoga County Jail in the several weeks after his arrest and before his case was resolved by a guilty plea, with logs noting his activity every 10 minutes. He was taken off county jail suicide watch in early June after authorities determined he was not a suicide risk.

Castro’s attorneys tried unsuccessfully to have a psychological examination of Castro done at the Cuyahoga County Jail, where Castro was housed before he was turned over to state authorities following his conviction, his attorney, Jaye Schlachet, told The Associated Press early yesterday. Schlachet said he could not immediately comment further.

In an interview last month after Castro’s conviction, Schlachet and attorney Craig Weintraub said their client clearly fit the profile of sociopathic disorder and that they hoped researchers would study him for clues that could be used to stop other predators.

The three women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. They escaped from Castro’s Cleveland home May 6, when Amanda Berry, one of the women, broke part of a door and yelled to neighbors for help.

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