SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

September 5, 2013

Ohio man who held women captive commits suicide

(Continued)

“Help me,” she said in a 911 call. “I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for 10 years and I’m, I’m here, I’m free now.”

The two other women were so scared of Castro that they held back initially even as police officers began to swarm the house. But quickly they realized they were free.

“You saved us! You saved us!” another of the captives, Michelle Knight, told an officer as she leaped into his arms.

Castro was arrested that evening. He had also fathered a child with Berry while she was in captivity; that girl was 6 years old when freed. A judge rejected Castro’s request to have visiting rights with his daughter.

Elation over the women’s rescue soon turned to shock as details emerged about conditions of their captivity. Investigators say they were bound with chains, repeatedly raped and deprived of food and bathroom facilities. Knight told investigators she was beaten and starved several times to force her to miscarry.

Messages left for the women’s lawyers were not immediately returned early yesterday.

Castro was sentenced Aug. 1 to life in prison plus 1,000 years on his guilty plea to 937 counts including kidnapping and rape.

In a rambling statement, he told the judge he was not a monster but a man suffering from a pornography addiction.

“I’m not a monster. I’m sick,” Castro said at his sentencing.

Knight was the only one of the three who appeared in court at his sentencing.

“You took 11 years of my life away, and I have got it back,” she said in the hushed courtroom. “I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning.”

This is the second high-profile suicide in an Ohio prison in a month.

On Aug. 4, death row inmate Billy Slagle was found hanged in his cell just days before his scheduled execution. He was condemned to death for fatally stabbing a neighbor.

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