At Ariel Castro's expense, the house where he held his kidnap victims for more than 10 years was reduced to rubble today, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Onlookers and media, assembled before dawn, saw kidnap victim Michelle Knight distribute balloons to neighbors before the demolition. The balloons were released, and the aunt of victim Gina DeJesus was allowed to work the excavator controls to smash the upper facade. Once crewmen took over, the Cleveland house was gone in an hour.
Castro's victims "beat this guy," said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty in an interview. "[Castro’s] lost. They won." The next question: Who will reside on the property once it's been cleared up? McGinty said a new committee led by two city councilmen will decide and might include a park; two neighboring houses will also come down over the next few days. "We want to see something nice," said a woman who grew up across the street. "We want to be able to look over there and not remember what happened." (Read more Ariel Castro stories.)