Neighbors: We Told Cops About Cleveland House

At least two say they reported suspicious activity at Ariel Castro home

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted May 7, 2013 3:48 PM CDT

(Newser) – Cleveland police say they're still figuring out charges against 52-year-old Ariel Castro, accused of keeping three women captive in his home with the apparent help of brothers Onil, 50, and Pedro, 54. Meanwhile, more apparent missed opportunities by police are emerging, with these two getting prominent play:

  • A woman who lives three houses away tells AP she called police several years ago after her daughter saw a naked woman crawling in Castro's backyard. "But they didn't take it seriously," says Elsie Clinton.
  • Another neighbor tells MSNBC that he called police in 2011 when his sister saw a woman banging on a window as if she wanted to escape. "The cops came. They pounded on that man’s door around 15, 20 times, real hard. They looked in the driveway, they got back in the squad car and left."
A city safety official, however, says "we have no indications that any of the neighbors, bystanders, witnesses or anyone else has ever called regarding any information, regarding activity that occurred at that house."

The Plain Dealer, meanwhile, reports that Ariel has a history of violence. In 2005, his ex-wife accused him of beating her, and a court document lists broken ribs, dislocated shoulders, a blood clot on the brain, a twice-broken nose, and a knocked-out tooth. Ariel Castro also had at least one nasty dispute with a neighbor that ended up in court. And yet quotes like this also keep turning up in stories: "He was always happy, nice, respectful," says Juan Perez, who lives two houses away. "He gained trust with the kids and with the parents. You can only do that if you're nice." Few details are available on the brothers, who did not live in Ariel's home.

This undated combination photo released by the Cleveland Police Department shows from left, Onil Castro, Ariel Castro, and Pedro Casto.   (AP Photo/Cleveland Police Department)
A house where three women escaped is shown Tuesday in Cleveland.   (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Amanda Berry, right, hugs sister Beth Serrano after being reunited in a Cleveland hospital Monday.   (AP Photo/Family Handout courtesy WOIO-TV)
This undated photo released by the Cleveland Police Department shows Ariel Castro.   (AP Photo/Cleveland Police Department)
In this undated photo released by the Cleveland Police Department shows Onil Castro.   (AP Photo/Cleveland Police Department)
This undated photo released by the Cleveland Police Department shows Pedro J. Castro.   (AP Photo/HO, Cleveland Police Department)
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