Cleveland Suspect Was Probed for Child Kidnap

More details emerge on Castro brothers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2013 3:19 AM CDT
Cleveland Kidnap Suspects Were 'Regular Guys'
This undated combination photo released by the Cleveland Police Department shows from left, Onil Castro, Ariel Castro, and Pedro Castro.    (AP Photo/Cleveland Police Department)

Friends and neighbors of the Castro brothers say there is nothing about the three men that signaled they were capable of a crime as horrific as the kidnapping and decade-long imprisonment of three young women, the Cleveland Plain Dealer finds. Onil, 50; Ariel, 52; and Pedro, 54, are members of a large and well-known family who was among the first Hispanics to settle in Cleveland. Associates describe the men as smart and funny, though Ariel has a history of domestic violence and the other two were very heavy drinkers. Onil and Pedro hadn't worked in years, while Ariel was fired from his job as a school bus driver last fall.

  • "They were all good kids," says a lifelong friend of the brothers, who have six other siblings. "That's why this news is devastating. It's not only horrifying to the families of the kidnapped girls, it's devastating to us, because these brothers were all very good kids who grew up in a very good family."
  • Ariel, a musician who played in local Latin bands, had become more withdrawn in recent years, his uncle tells the New York Times. "It could have been because of the hiding personality. He had to have two personalities," he says.
  • Ariel, the only brother to have lived at the home where the women were found, had a wife and three children but that marriage ended and the other two brothers never married. One of Ariel's children, 25-year-old Emily Castro, is serving a 25-years-to-life sentence for trying to murder her infant daughter in 2007, USA Today reports.
  • In 2004, shortly before kidnap victim Gina DeJesus went missing, Ariel was investigated by police for abduction and child endangerment, the Guardian reports. A police report states that Castro kept a child on his school bus for two hours instead of dropping him off at school, at one point ordering the boy to "Lay down, b****." Police determined that no assault had taken place and no law had been broken, though Castro was suspended from his job for 60 days. During that investigation, police visited the home at which the three women were held, but after finding nobody home, they went away and didn't return.
(Read more Ariel Castro stories.)

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