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Family claims body of Ohio kidnapper Ariel Castro

September 6, 2013
Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A coroner says the family of Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro has claimed his body as authorities continue to investigate how a man who was perhaps Ohio's most notorious inmate managed to commit suicide while under close supervision in prison.

Franklin County Coroner Jan Gorniak says a funeral home picked up Castro's body Friday.

The 53-year-old Castro was a month into a life sentence for the kidnapping, rape and decade-long imprisonment of three women in his home when he hanged himself Tuesday night. The former school bus driver had been taken off suicide watch.

Castro said in a videotaped interrogation that aired on NBC's "Today" show Friday that police missed many opportunities to capture him.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro said he called the mother of one of his captives and told the woman her daughter was alive and had become his wife, according to interrogation videotapes.

Castro also told investigators that authorities missed opportunities to catch him while he held the three women captive for about a decade in a run-down house where they were repeatedly beaten and raped.

Castro says in the video — obtained by NBC and first reported Friday on the "Today" show — that he told Amanda Berry's mother that her daughter was OK. He says he made the call on Amanda Berry's cellphone.

"I think I said something ... that I have her daughter and that she's OK, and that she's my wife now — something like that, you know, probably not the exact words," he told investigators.

When asked for the mother's response, Castro said: "I hung up so we didn't have a conversation."

Castro, 53, was a month into his life sentence when he hanged himself in his prison cell Tuesday night. His family collected his body from the Franklin County Coroner's office Friday.

In the taped interrogation, Castro also told investigators that authorities missed opportunities to catch him while he held the kidnapped women, who were ages 14, 16 and 20 when captured.

Castro said cameras at the school of victim Gina DeJesus should have captured him there 15 minutes before she was abducted.

"You could have broke the case right then and there," he said.

Castro said a girlfriend once noticed a TV on in a room occupied by victim Michelle Knight and that got him worrying that he might be caught.

"Was it a close call?" an investigator said.

"Yeah," he said.

Representatives of the victims did not respond to messages seeking comment Friday morning.

The "Today" show report also provides additional details about a 2004 note Castro wrote that investigators found when they searched the house. "I want to put an end to my life and let the devil deal with me," a section of the note read.

The state is conducting two reviews related to Castro, Ohio prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said. One looks into the suicide, and the other examines whether Castro received proper medical and mental health care leading up the suicide.

Castro was sentenced Aug. 1 to life in prison plus 1,000 years after pleading guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping and rape, in a deal to avoid the death penalty. "I'm not a monster. I'm sick," he told the judge at sentencing.

Castro's captives disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004. They were rescued from Castro's house May 6 when Berry broke through a screen door.

Investigators said the women were bound, repeatedly raped and deprived of food and bathroom facilities.

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Associated Press Writer Julie Carr Smyth contributed to this report.

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Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.

 
 

 

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