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More terrifying details emerge in Cleveland house of horrors case

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 9th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Ariel Castro, the man accused in the abduction, imprisonment and torture of three young West Cleveland women appeared in court as new details of his captors' ordeal came to public knowledge. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brian Murphy told the judge "the charges against Mr. Castro are based on premeditated, deliberate and depraved decisions to snatch three young ladies from Cleveland's Westside streets to be used in whatever self-gratifying, self-serving way he saw fit."

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Castro maintained his home as a prison for three young women, holding them in seclusion and sexually assaulting them for his own pleasure, Murphy told the judge.

Castro is being held on $8 million bond, $2 million for each of the four victims -- the three women and the child born to one of them during her captivity. Castro, wearing a blue prison jumpsuit stared at the ground and did not speak during his hearing.

Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Georgina "Gina" DeJesus were allegedly kidnapped by Castro from the same Cleveland neighborhood between 2002 and 2004. The three women and child were freed after Berry staged a daring escape while Castro was away from the house.

The women's ordeal, which in some cases lasted a decade, was beyond imagining. Knight said she became pregnant at least five times during her captivity in Castro's 1,400-square-foot home. Knight told police that when Castro learned she was pregnant, he would "make her abort the baby. Knight "stated that he starved her for at least 2 weeks, then he repeatedly punched her in the stomach until she miscarried," the police report states.

Castro ordered Knight to deliver Amanda Berry's child when she became pregnant. The baby was delivered in a plastic tub or pool in order to contain the afterbirth and amniotic fluid, the source said.

"What's most incredible here is that this girl who knows nothing about childbirth was able to deliver a baby that is now a healthy 6-year-old," the source said.

In their shared captivity, Berry, Knight and DeJesus went outside Castro's home only twice and just "briefly" at that, Cleveland Public Safety Director Martin Flask said.

The women claim that Castro first chained them in the basement, but later freed them from the chains and allowed them to live upstairs on the second floor. The majority of the time, the three women would be in different rooms, though they interacted occasionally and came to "rely on each other for survival."

All three women accepted the fact that their alleged captor would never let them out. Castro would often test the young women by pretending to leave, according to law enforcement reports. Then he'd suddenly return; if there were indications any of the women had moved, they'd be disciplined.

More tortuously, the women saw their parents on television at vigils held for them, according to the law enforcement source, all three of them reduced to tears knowing that their loved ones were looking for them.

But "something must have clicked" for Berry on Monday evening and the 27-year-old staged a daring escape, Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said.

With the help of Castro's neighbors Charles Ramsey and Angel Cordero, Berry freed herself, her 6-year-old daughter and the two other women.

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