Skip to main content

Plenty yet to learn in Cleveland captive case

By Michael Pearson, CNN
May 9, 2013 -- Updated 1732 GMT (0132 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Did anyone know?
  • Could Castro face murder charges?
  • What about the $25,000 reward?

(CNN) -- A flood of details has emerged in the past 24 hours about the case of Ariel Castro and the three women police say he held for close to a decade inside his modest Cleveland home.

Based on an initial incident report obtained by CNN, we know the women -- Amanda Berry, 27; Georgina "Gina" DeJesus, 23; and Michelle Knight, 32 -- say they were beaten and sexually abused. One says she suffered at least five miscarriages induced by starvation and beating. And we know they only rarely, and briefly, left the home on Seymour Avenue that had become their prison.

But some questions remain unanswered in this case. Here's a look at a few of them:

Did anyone know? And if not, how could that be?

It seems implausible -- three women, and later a child, held captive for close to a decade within a 1,400-square-foot home in a densely populated urban neighborhood without anyone else knowing.

See kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro
When kidnapped become brainwashed

Wouldn't his brothers or other relatives, his children -- somebody -- have noticed something strange going on?

At first, authorities seemed to think so: they arrested Castro and his two brothers on Monday, saying initially that the brothers were linked to the investigation. On Tuesday, however, they said that didn't seem to be the case.

One explanation may be Castro's penchant for obsessive privacy around his home, according to the father of his late common-law wife.

Ishmael Figueroa once shared a home with his daughter, Grimilda Figueroa, and Castro. Figueroa lived downstairs, the couple lived upstairs. Castro, he says, would never let anyone visit the second floor.

And when Castro and Grimilda Figueroa moved to the house on Seymour Avenue -- where the women were later discovered -- Castro wouldn't even let family members through the front door.

"Ariel kept everybody at a distance," said Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba.

Timeline: From missing to liberated

Could Castro be charged with murder?

It's an intriguing question. Ohio is one of 38 states with a fetal homicide law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Authorities have searched Castro's home and found no evidence of human remains. But in her initial interview Monday with police, Knight told investigators that she had suffered at least five miscarriages, according to the incident report obtained by CNN.

Castro would starve and punch her in the stomach to induce miscarriage, Knight said, according to the document.

Authorities haven't publicly discussed such an idea, but CNN affiliate WOIO -- citing multiple law enforcement sources -- said authorities are investigating the possibility of murder charges against Castro.

Will anyone get the reward?

Berry's and DeJesus' disappearances were frequently in the news, and a $25,000 reward was on offer in the case.

In the immediate aftermath of Berry's daring escape, speculation centered on whether Charles Ramsey, one of two neighbors who came to her aid, deserved the reward. Ramsey himself suggested the money should go to the women.

Authorities haven't concluded who, if anyone, should get the money, but are discussing it, Tomba said.

"That is going to be up to the entities that put up that reward money and what their protocol is, but Mr. Ramsey does deserve something. A lot of credit and he is the true key to this case," Tomba said.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Ohio women found
May 14, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
Michelle Knight wasn't the only one being held by Ariel Castro. But she knew she was different.
May 6, 2014 -- Updated 1605 GMT (0005 HKT)
Michelle Knight remembers exactly how Ariel Castro lured her into his home.
November 7, 2013 -- Updated 0007 GMT (0807 HKT)
Michelle Knight squeezes her eyes shut and cries as she listens to the 911 call that led police to rescue her from the house where Ariel Castro held her hostage for more than a decade.
September 4, 2013 -- Updated 2236 GMT (0636 HKT)
Ariel Castro who was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years for kidnapping, raping and holding captive three women was found hanging in his prison cell.
August 1, 2013 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus weren't in the courtroom. But their diaries gave authorities a window into the horror they suffered for a decade.
August 4, 2013 -- Updated 1737 GMT (0137 HKT)
They were living in hell, and Ariel Castro did all he could to make sure they'd never escape it.
August 5, 2013 -- Updated 1038 GMT (1838 HKT)
Michelle Knight, one of three women kidnapped by Ariel Castro, returned Friday to the Cleveland house where she was chained up and tormented for 11 years, a neighbor said.
August 1, 2013 -- Updated 1822 GMT (0222 HKT)
When her chance came, kidnapping victim Michelle Knight lit into Ariel Castro, the man who held her captive and raped her in his Cleveland home for a decade.
August 2, 2013 -- Updated 1354 GMT (2154 HKT)
The woman's voice wavered, just for a moment.
August 2, 2013 -- Updated 1356 GMT (2156 HKT)
From the outside, the home at 2207 Seymour Avenue looked like most any other in Cleveland's Westside neighborhood.
July 9, 2013 -- Updated 1406 GMT (2206 HKT)
For the first time since their rescue, the world is hearing directly from the three women who were held captive in Cleveland for a decade.
August 2, 2013 -- Updated 0757 GMT (1557 HKT)
For his victims, Thursday was roughly a decade in coming.
May 10, 2013 -- Updated 0025 GMT (0825 HKT)
In retrospect, there were plenty of signs that something was wrong.
August 1, 2013 -- Updated 1710 GMT (0110 HKT)
For the first time, take a look inside the Cleveland house where three women were held captive for a decade.
May 13, 2013 -- Updated 1055 GMT (1855 HKT)
How the macabre enslavement of two girls and a woman began has deeply disturbed a nation, if not the world.
May 19, 2013 -- Updated 1537 GMT (2337 HKT)
When the police arrived at Castro's house, it was almost peaceful. As if nobody else was there. And then they heard the sound of scurrying feet upstairs.
May 13, 2013 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Ariel Castro's brothers say he's "a monster" who should rot in jail and they "want the world to know" they had no idea their brother was holding women captive.
May 8, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
Two were just teenagers when they were kidnapped, but the three women have finally been found a decade later.
May 8, 2013 -- Updated 0933 GMT (1733 HKT)
When Amanda Berry screamed for help through a crack in the front door of the house where she was being held, she set in motion an end to roughly a decade of captivity for herself and two other women.
May 10, 2013 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
His Cleveland neighbors are trying to come with grips with the two personas -- the first, they thought they knew, the other, the one that authorities describe.
ADVERTISEMENT