If you thought the twisted details of the Cleveland case ended with yesterday's news of reported sightings of naked women in Ariel Castro's backyard, well, steel yourself: New reports reveal Castro bizarrely and brazenly inserted himself into the search for one of the missing girls. The latest:
- The AP reports that Castro physically aided in the search for Gina DeJesus, going so far as to hand out fliers with the 14-year-old's photo and perform at a musical fundraiser held in her honor. (DeJesus' uncle played in bands with Castro over the last two decades.)
- As previously reported, Castro attended a 2012 vigil for DeJesus; the AP now reports that a witness saw him comforting the girl's mother.
- A neighbor tells the AP he was with Castro the day investigators dug up a yard looking for remains. Castro reportedly told him, "They're not going to find anyone there."
- Brother Pedro reportedly took things even further: He spoke to Fox 8 in 2012 after the crews excavating a lot in search of a body found nothing. The line from its report at the time: "Cleveland resident Pedro Castro said, 'That’s a waste of money.'"
- But Fox 8 also reports on Ariel Castro's bizarre connection with another one-time suspect: Fernando Colon, who the FBI questioned in 2004 about DeJesus' disappearance, after it was determined that he and his stepdaughter were the last ones to see her. And here's where it gets weirder: His stepdaughter, Arlene, is Castro's daughter. Colon was convicted that same year of molesting two of Castro's daughters; Castro himself testified for the prosecution, and Colon now says he plans to appeal his conviction, asserting that Castro was attempting to keep the spotlight off his own crimes. Further, he says he told the FBI to look into Castro in connection with the missing girls.
- Odder still, Arlene actually appeared on America's Most Wanted to discuss the case in 2004. She says that she was with DeJesus on the day she went missing, and borrowed 50 cents from her to call her mom to ask for permission to go to DeJesus' home, reports the Plain Dealer. Her mom said no and the two went in different directions; but DeJesus no longer had enough money for bus fare, so she began to walk, then vanished.