Ariel Castro has been found dead in his prison cell just 35 days into his life-plus-1,000-years sentence for keeping three women captive in his home for a decade. The 53-year-old hanged himself, say officials at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio. Prison officials found his body about 9:20pm. They tried emergency life-saving measures, but he was pronounced dead at a hospital. Officials say Castro was in protective custody—meaning he was in a cell by himself and was checked every 30 minutes—but he was not on suicide watch, the AP reports.
Prison officials say a full investigation of the apparent suicide is under way, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Initial autopsy results confirm that he died of suicide by hanging, and sources tell ABC 5 that he used a bed sheet to do it. But Castro's lawyers aren't so sure. Asked about the suicide by the New York Daily News, one replied, "Alleged suicide, right?" Another, lawyer Craig Weintraub, tells Fox News Latino that the prison twice denied requests for a psychological evaluation of Castro. "I’m not so sure that they necessarily care if someone is suicidal," he said. On the Today show, Weintraub vowed "to get to the bottom of it. I understand that the public is probably going to say good riddance. But this is a human being, we are in a civilized society, and we expect that the person would be protected when they’re institutionalized."