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Report: Ohio kidnapper Ariel Castro said he called mother of victim, told her daughter was OK

By Andrew Welsh-Huggins
Associated Press

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COLUMBUS: 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 rundown 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 used Amanda Berry’s cellphone to call her mother.

“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. A funeral home picked up his body Friday from the Franklin County Coroner’s Office on behalf of Castro’s family.

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 victim Gina DeJesus’ school 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.

Cleveland police did not respond to requests for comment regarding Castro’s claims that there was a missed opportunity to catch him after DeJesus disappeared.

Representatives of the victims did not respond to messages seeking comment Friday morning. Berry’s mother, Louwana Miller, died in 2006.

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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