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Ariel Castro Confesses to Some Actions; Castro Bail Set at $8 Million; Ariel Castro's Former In-Laws Speaks Out

Aired May 9, 2013 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. We are live tonight with breaking news from Cleveland, where we have spent the day putting together a picture, a very disturbing picture, of who Ariel Castro is and the nightmare he allegedly -- subjected his victims to.

A prosecutor today put it like this. Castro, he said, ran a torture chamber in that house behind me, a private prison right here in the heart of the city.

Castro was arraigned today on four counts of kidnapping, three counts of rape, accused of holding three women captive in his home for about a decade with one of those women giving birth to a child during that time.

Now law enforcement source says during interrogation, Castro confessed to some of his actions during that decade. That source did not go into details about what exactly he confessed to, however.

Tonight in Cleveland, a victor vigil celebrating the safe return of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight. There you see it, balloons were released into the air in a show of support for the women and the challenges they now face after surviving their ordeal. There could be more charges we want to tell you about to come against their alleged captor, Ariel Castro.

The prosecutor says he'll seek murder charges related to a police report that says when at least one of the women got pregnant, Castro allegedly starved her for at least two weeks, then punched her repeatedly in the stomach until she miscarried. This allegedly happened multiple times.

We're going to have more on Castro's arraignment in a moment.

I also spoke with his former in-laws, including the sister of his ex-wife. His ex-wife is deceased. Her sister, says Castro, is to blame for her sister's death after repeated beatings.

Meanwhile, the mother of one of the victims, Gina DeJesus, is speaking out. In her first interview on ABC News, Nancy Ruiz spoke about Gina's first night home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NANCY RUIZ, GINA DEJESUS' MOTHER: For one thing, she just said -- she says, mom, I don't want to stay in a room. So I says, you don't have to anymore. So that's part of the process, part of her healing and knowing that she now can do what she wants.

DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS: She said she doesn't want to stay in a room.



COOPER: Well, much has been made about the connections between the Castro family and Gina DeJesus's family. The two families knew each other and Gina's mother would sometimes see Ariel Castro. ABC's David Muir asked Nancy Ruiz about that.


MUIR: You would see him and he would say, how are you doing?

RUIZ: Yes.

MUIR: But nothing was wrong.

RUIZ: Yes.

MUIR: That's chilling.

RUIZ: It is.

MUIR: All the while he had your daughter.

RUIZ: Yes. You don't know how many times I've been through this street? I passed by that street. I was just two blocks and a half away from there.


COOPER: Imagine a mother realizing she had walked by the home where her daughter was allegedly being held hostage.

Lily Rodriguez spoke briefly to reporters through the window of her car. She was clearly distraught as she apologized in Spanish. Take a look.


LILY RODRIGUEZ, ARIEL CASTRO'S MOTHER: I'll tell you, I have a sick son who has committed something very grave. I'm suffering very much. I ask forgiveness to those mothers, may those young ladies forgive me. I suffer because they suffered. I'm suffering over my son's pain. My son is sick and I have nothing to do with what my son did.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Well, there are other pieces of the puzzle that are just now coming to light. Writings found inside the house, pictures of the backyard and the word that Castro had confessed to at least some actions.

Joining me now, CNN's Martin Savidge, Pamela Brown, as well as WOIO investigative reporter Scott Taylor.

So, Pamela, some word of some sort of confession. What have you heard from sources?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we've known that Ariel Castro has been talking with federal authorities and local police, prosecutors since his arrest on Monday and that he's been cooperating with authorities. And now we're learning from a law enforcement source with first-hand knowledge of the investigation that he has confessed.

As the source says, it would not be inaccurate to say he has confessed. The confessions came in detailed statements during the interrogations over the last couple of days. However, the source is not going into detail. The source is reluctant to say exactly what he's confessed to specifically.

COOPER: Right.

BROWN: But we know they're related to the actions we've been hearing about.

COOPER: And, Martin, you obtained exclusive pictures of the backyard. What does it show?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We did, yes. These photographs were taken by a neighbor. They were taken over both a night and a daytime. It's -- these photos show really what was going on in the backyard when the FBI was going through there. And keep in mind, that's really important because it's not just the evidence gathered in the home but we know now that it's possible there could be human remains.

So the first photograph is focusing on a hole. You can see it's dark, you can see also the -- you know, a tarp has been put up to protect prying eyes but still it was a hole that was dug. The FBI is down on the ground. They clearly were looking for something. They won't tell you what it is. But it isn't hard to figure that it could be the remains of the fetuses, the unborn children that had been reportedly -- that the women were forced to abort.

In other cases that the FBI is looking for, it's more of this conclusive evidence. They are methodically building a timeline from when each of the girls was taken to the moment they walked out the front door.

COOPER: And that's a long timeline.

Scott, what are you hearing about these writings that were found in the house?

SCOTT TAYLOR, WOIO INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, the writings, the letters, they were found this week, multiple pages, I'm told. I'm also told by my sources that investigators believe Ariel Castro wrote these letters and you could call it a suicide note. Some people might call it a confession, too, because he talks about hurting, doing bad things to three women and nobody else. He talks about picking each one of them up, first with Michele in front of a Dollar Store on Park Avenue, just a little ways away here, then picking up Amanda in 2003, and then Gina in 2004.

And in that letter, he was shocked at the age of Gina. He thought she was a lot older and turns out she was only 14, Anderson.

COOPER: Right. And this is coming from your sources? With the investigation?

TAYLOR: From my sources and other sources with other reporters, we've talked to a lot of sources from different reporters and confirmed that there is a letter. Investigators do believe that Castro wrote this and they found it in 2004. And I want to point out --

COOPER: It was written in 2004.

TAYLOR: In 2004.

COOPER: Right.

TAYLOR: It was found just this past -- I want to point out, though, this was after he already had all the three girls down in the basement, supposedly gagged and chained. Michele, up on a wall, unfortunately. That's what we've been hearing from our sources.

COOPER: What else have you heard about what was happening inside that house? Because at a certain point, they were I guess taken -- allowed to leave the basement.

TAYLOR: Yes. When Amanda's baby was born around Christmastime, she's 6 years old now, everybody has seen that picture with her -- with Amanda and her in the hospital, when she was born for whatever reason, whoever kept them in there, decided to take them out of the basement, put them up into separate rooms.

I have been told by my sources each room had a big padlock on it and then a slit where food can go in and out, water in and out. These girls, though, really developed a bond -- obviously, they're captive. They developed this bond where when they got in trouble, when they tried to act out or do something, they were punished. They were punished by keeping food away from them. The girls, the other girls, would sneak food to whoever was being punished so they would stay alive.

COOPER: It's all so -- I mean, it's just still so hard to wrap your mind around, especially when you see the house. This house that could be any house in any neighborhood. SAVIDGE: An interesting point, though. And this has been point out to me by law enforcement. You look at that house and you say it's a busy street, but two houses on this side, vacant. Due to the unusual topography of a community in an urban area, the backyard of his home is unusually isolated. He's got sort of an abandoned parking lot on one side, he's got a high-rise parking lot on the other, and the backyard is very secluded. Very easy for him to come and go without people behind him really seeing.

COOPER: And the ground floor of his house, at least on this side, the windows are boarded up and you think, well, that's unusual, but then you look at -- as you said, the two houses actually are abandoned and have boarded up windows as well.


TAYLOR: The backyard, Martin, you probably know this, neighbors tell me it was barricaded where you couldn't see inside, and according to what I've heard, the girls were taken out to the garage at least twice in 10 years. They were disguised and taken out of the garage. Just amazing.

BROWN: Yes. And hearing from sources, that's because he wanted the girls gone, if he had visitors coming over to his house, and didn't want them to suspect anything suspicious inside the home. He brought the girls to the garage in disguise.


TAYLOR: Yes. Yes and --

COOPER: There's a cross visible in one of the pictures.

SAVIDGE: There is. We can't explain it. I don't know the significance and some who have -- the man who took the photo, he'd said, he didn't remember seeing that cross there a couple of days ago. So did someone put it there as kind of a tribute or a memorial, had it been there, it's unclear. But it does stand out to see this cross.

TAYLOR: And have either one of you heard that down in the basement there's a "Rest in Peace" that's scrawled along the wall? Have either one of you heard that? I've heard that from several sources over the last couple of days.

COOPER: Unclear who would have written it or what it would be --

TAYLOR: Very -- very unclear who it is.

SAVIDGE: But what's going on tonight, now they've taken DNA --

COOPER: We have not been able to confirm that. But I know a number of source -- a local --

TAYLOR: Media outlets, local media outlets.

COOPER: Media outlets have been reporting it. TAYLOR: Yes. Quite a few reporters have been reporting that.

SAVIDGE: I was just saying, DNA has been taken from Castro overnight. It's going to be rushed by the labs in the state of Ohio. This is they say the highest priority. What they will then do is then try to match it against any crimes that they can. Not just here in Cleveland. Maybe across the state and other areas.

COOPER: Unclear if his DNA is in any data bases because he hasn't -- there aren't any other crimes --

SAVIDGE: That's right.

COOPER: -- that he's known to have committed but it's very possible something -- they could get a register.

SAVIDGE: That's right.

TAYLOR: There's another reason why they're taking his DNA. I understand that they're looking for a paternity test on the young child as well because remember there's four kidnapping charges here. With the little girl as well, there's another kidnapping charge.

COOPER: It's just so incredible. Martin Savidge, appreciate it. Pamela Brown and Scott Taylor from WOIO, appreciate it as well.

As we mentioned at the beginning of the program, Ariel Castro was arraigned today on four counts of kidnapping, three counts of rape.

CNN's Brian Todd was in the courtroom for the arraignment. He's going to join me in just -- actually, he's going to join me now live.

Brian, what was the situation like inside the court? What did he appear like? What was his behavior like?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a little bit strange, Anderson. He came in kind of very stilted behavior. He walked in kind of a wooden fashion. He was not shackled by the legs. He was handcuffed. He walked toward the judge. He made no eye contact with anyone. He did not speak, he did not enter a plea. And that's one of the key highlights of this hearing today.

He did not enter a plea. He just didn't make eye contact with the judge, he did not make eye contact even with his own defense attorney. He looked down, he looked despondent. He looked almost depressed and almost non-functional when he was here. So it was really kind of a strange proceeding.

The prosecutor, Brian Murphy, had plenty to say, saying that he made a depraved premeditated decision about these women when he snatched them off the streets of West Cleveland. He said that he basically used them for any self-gratifying, self-serving way that he saw fit. He said the women were repeatedly beaten, that they were bound, that they were sexually assaulted repeatedly.

And we also know, Anderson, from a source close to the investigation as well as an incident report from Monday night when the police rescued these women that the -- Amanda Berry, who gave birth to that 6-year-old girl, has said in that police report that the child is the biological child of Ariel Castro. So that's one thing that we -- I heard you talk about the paternity test. That's what Amanda Berry has said to police in a report that we've obtained.

So that's one piece of information. There are all sorts of other details in that report about the birth of that child.

COOPER: And the prosecutor seems intent on charging Castro with a lot more than the seven counts he was charged with today, correct?

TODD: That's right. You know, this is going the a grand jury in Cuyahoga County after this. And prosecutors have said that during that proceeding, the grand jury, which is going to take place over several weeks and months, that additional charges could be filed. Now this -- the county prosecutor said just a couple of hours ago that he is going to look into the possibility of charges that could conceivably bring the death penalty.

Now that leads to all sorts of questions about, you know, what we're talking about here. We -- according to this police report that we've obtained and according to a source familiar with this investigation, Michele Knight has said that she was pregnant five times and that each time she was essentially forced to either miscarry or otherwise abort the baby. She did say to the police in that report that she was starved for a period of two weeks at least once, that she was punched repeatedly until she miscarried.

Now is that what the prosecutor here in Cuyahoga County is talking about when he's talking about the death penalty? That's unclear and he did not make that clear but it looks like they are going to be looking at some of these instances where possibly children were miscarried.

COOPER: But there's no evidence at this point that they found human remains on the site, correct?

TODD: No. No evidence at all, Anderson, and you know, I heard Marty talking about the hole in the backyard and the pictures that we got from the neighbor. There were all sorts of rumors about what they might be finding. No evidence so far that they found any human remains anywhere on the property. That's important to emphasize right now.

COOPER: Yes. Very important. Brian, appreciate it.

As we have noted, I mean, this is really early in the investigation and there's a lot -- you know, as we all know, lot of times information starts to leak out and as we saw in Boston, sometimes that information is not correct. So we're trying to be as judicious and as careful in just confirming things as much as possible as we can, and certainly being as transparent with you as we can in terms of the sourcing on all these pieces of information that have been leaked out. The judge today ordered that Castro be held on $8 million bond, $2 million for each of the three women, another $2 million for the child born while Amanda Berry was in captivity.

Our legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin joins me now live.

Are you surprised, Sunny, that he got any bail? I mean, it's $8 million, he'd probably have a tough time coming up with that amount of money obviously in cash, but why set bail at all?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Sure. I wasn't surprised because in Ohio, it appears that most criminal defendants are entitled to bond for offenses that are bondable. And we're talking about kidnapping here. So it is a bondable offense.

I'm not surprised, though, Anderson, that the judge gave him $2 million for each count which is $8 million. He wouldn't have to come up with $8 million. He would have to come up with at least 10 percent of that, we know that's $800,000, and then a surety for the balance which is still $8 million. So he's never going to be able to come up with that.

And I need to also mention that we've got to remember, as you just said, this is very early in the investigation, and these counts, the four counts of kidnapping, the three counts of rape, those are sort of in law what we call the holding counts, just to get him into the system. Many, many more counts could come and what's a bond -- non-bondable type of offense? It's a murder charge.

And that's what this prosecutor is talking about. He is talking about the possibility of charging Ariel Castro with murder, with aggravated murder. And I looked up the code in Ohio and there is a statute that provides for that. If someone is found to have unlawfully terminated the pregnancy of another and we're hearing that that may have happened here to Michele Knight, then absolutely Ohio law would provide for that. And we know Ohio is a death penalty case.

I've got to tell you, I've looked up this prosecutor, he's very, very aggressive. He's a new prosecutor for the county. And if anyone is going to really, really do something about this case, it's Tim McGinty, that prosecutor.

COOPER: This may be a dumb question, Sunny, but without human remains, how do you prove that the women were pregnant in the court of law?

HOSTIN: Yes. It's going to be -- it's going to be very difficult. And that's why I think so many people were surprised to hear that it's possible that they are looking at this. It would be a medical expert that would testify that perhaps there were pregnancies, you know. It's quite possible that there have been some medical issues that have resulted from perhaps these terminated pregnancies, and so I think it is possible. While difficult, it could be possible to prove a case like that.

And again, this is an aggressive prosecutor, former prosecutor and former judge who has vowed to rehab the justice system in Ohio.

COOPER: All right. Sunny, appreciate it. Sunny Hostin.

Let us know what you think. Follow me on Twitter @Andersoncooper. I'll be tweeting throughout the hour tonight.

Just ahead, one of Ariel Castro's daughters is speaking out. She was the last person to see Gina DeJesus before she vanished nine years ago. And now her very own father is accused of kidnapping her childhood friend. Imagine what is going through her mind. It's hard to imagine facing something like that.

Also ahead, Ariel Castro's former niece describes being inside his house in 2005, unaware the three women were allegedly being imprisoned there.


MARIE CARABALLO, ARIEL CASTRO'S EX-NIECE: He told me, you know, stay in the kitchen, so I'm young, I didn't think nothing of it. So I stayed in the kitchen.

COOPER: He just wanted you to stay in one room.


COOPER: He didn't want you walking around the house.




COOPER: Well, the last person to see Gina DeJesus before she vanished in 2004 was her best friend, Arlene Castro, a daughter of Ariel Castro. DeJesus was just 14 when Mr. Castro allegedly lured her into his car. Now after school that day, Gina asked Arlene to come to her house for a sleepover. In an interview on "America's Most Wanted" back in 2005, Arlene described what happened next.


ARLENE CASTRO, ARIEL CASTRO'S DAUGHTER: I decided to call my mom, ask her, and so she gave me 50 cents to call my mom, and so my mom said no, that I can't go over her house, and so I told her I couldn't and she said well, OK, I'll talk to you later, and she walked.


COOPER: Now her father stands accused of kidnapping and abusing her best friend. Over the last nine years, Arlene Castro went to vigils, never forgot her best friend. Now she's faced with this horrifying fact that Gina's accused kidnapper is her very own father.

Here's what Arlene Castro said today on "Good Morning America."


CASTRO: I'm really disappointed, embarrassed. Just mainly devastated about this whole situation.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CO-ANCHOR, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": When was the last time you spoke to your father?

CASTRO: It was late last month. I had no idea. We -- me and my father were never really that close. We -- every time we would talk, it would just be short conversations and just a hello, how are you doing, and let me know if you need anything, and that was it. Every time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And did you ever meet the little girl, Jocelyn?

CASTRO: No, I have never met her before.

STEPHANOPOULOS: In terms of violence in the home, did you ever witness that?

CASTRO: Oh, no. Never. Never. I would like to say I am absolutely so, so sorry. I really want to see you, Gina, and I want you to meet my kids. I'm so sorry for everything.


COOPER: So incredible. As we learn more about Ariel Castro from people who have known him for years, a chilling picture really is emerging. It's really a picture of two men, a man with two faces. One who the public saw and another only those who were closest to him witnessed.

I talked earlier to Elida Caraballo and her daughter, Marie. Elida's sister who died last year was Castro's former common-law wife. They had four children together, including Arlene, who you just heard from. And here's what the Caraballo told me.


COOPER: What's Ariel Castro like?


COOPER: A monster.

E. CARABALLO: Yes. In the beginning he was OK. He was a nice guy, so we thought.

COOPER: He married your sister.

E. CARABALLO: Not legally married. They were just common-law married.

COOPER: OK. E. CARABALLO: They were living together. He was an OK guy. We didn't think nothing of him. He was real good to my sister in the beginning but as time progressed, after her first child, he just started being too controlling, too possessive. You know?

COOPER: And would he abuse her?

E. CARABALLO: As time progressed, yes, he would abuse her. He broke her -- dislocated her arm, he had punched her in the ribs. And -- I mean, he -- he had pushed her down a flight of steps, broke her skull from the front of her head to the back of her head. Even after that, even her injuries to her head, he would still be mean to her, even after that, knowing that she just cracked her skull open, the way he pushed her down the steps. He's still mean to her.

COOPER: She finally did leave, though.

E. CARABALLO: Finally after the last incident, she -- he had busted her lip open and beat her so bad that she ran across the street to the neighbor's house there.

COOPER: When was the last time you saw him?

E. CARABALLO: At my sister's funeral. I saw him there.

COOPER: So 2012.

E. CARABALLO: Yes. That's the last time. I really never -- after that incident, I really never seen him anymore. He's just -- he's disgusting to me. The way he treated my sister.

COOPER: You actually have been over the house.

M. CARABALLO: Yes. I went to the house with my cousin Eileen Castro. She went to get money --

COOPER: That's his daughter.

M. CARABALLO: Yes. She went to get money for her sweet 16th and I was in his home parties, he told me, you know, stay in the kitchen. So I'm young, I didn't think nothing of it so I stayed in the kitchen.

COOPER: He just wanted you to stay in one room.


COOPER: He didn't want you walking around the house.


COOPER: When was this?

M. CARABALLO: I was about 11, maybe.

COOPER: So just how long ago?


COOPER: About eight years ago?

M. CARABALLO: Nine, eight years ago.

COOPER: So 2005, you were in the house and at that point, if what authorities say is true, he had already kidnapped these three women.

M. CARABALLO: Yes. And it's scary, like what if one of the girls came upstairs and I saw them, would I have been down there with them after that?

COOPER: What did you think of him?

M. CARABALLO: Well, my mom never really let us by him by ourselves, but me, I had got like a creepy feeling from him. Like just the way he gave a look, it was just weird to me. So I never really liked him from what -- how I felt about him and from what he did to my aunt.

COOPER: You really blame him for your sister's death.

E. CARABALLO: Oh, yes. He's the cause of my sister's death.

M. CARABALLO: She came here from Indiana. She was staying at our house and --

E. CARABALLO: That's all she talked about.

M. CARABALLO: She -- I was giving her clothes because she needed some clothes so went in, I looked at my clothes, I gave her some jackets. She just stops and hold her head, she's like Maria, I'm in so much pain. And he -- he did that to her and I just couldn't do nothing but hug her, you know?

E. CARABALLO: She always said he did this to me.

COOPER: She ultimately got a brain tumor.


COOPER: And she believed that was from --

E. CARABALLO: Oh, yes.

COOPER: What do you hope happens to Ariel Castro?

E. CARABALLO: Oh, my god, I hope he rots in jail. I think the death penalty would be too easy for him. The pain and suffering will be gone. It will be -- it will be easy.

COOPER: You describe him as a monster.


E. CARABALLO: Yes. He is a monster.

M. CARABALLO: If somebody didn't know him, you would think he's a nice normal guy. But if you know him, you know he's greedy. He was just mean.


COOPER: Well, thank you very much for talking to us. I appreciate it.

E. CARABALLO: You're welcome.


COOPER: We have learned a lot more about this man, Ariel Castro, just over the last several days.

For more on the story, you can go to

Next, it's as if Ariel Castro went out of his way to mock the family of Gina DeJesus. Wait until you hear what our Randi Kaye has uncovered about his relationship with the family, an ongoing relationship all the while he was allegedly holding their daughter. A chilling story, next.


COOPER: As we noted earlier, Ariel Castro has some chilling ties to at least one of the women he allegedly abducted and held. His daughter, Arlene, was best friends with Gina Dejesus and the last person to see her before she vanished.

Gina was just 14 when he allegedly locked her inside the house there behind me. But police say all of this was going on, Castro himself didn't hide away. On the contrary, he actually made a point of inserting himself into the Dejesus family's grief. Here's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Of all the people comforting Gina Dejesus' mother at a vigil last year marking the anniversary of her daughter's disappearance, one man now stands out, Ariel Castro. Not only did he comfort her mother while her daughter remained locked away in his home, but he played music and performed at the family's fundraisers. Forensic psychologist Kris Mohandie has not examined Castro, but says it's typical behavior.

KRIS MOHANDIE, FORMER LAPD PSYCHOLOGIST: Make no mistake, this is a man who potentially was a master manipulator of people's perceptions of him, and the idea that he put on these different masks even to his own family is not unexpected.

KAYE: Given what we know now, that police believe Castro held Gina Dejesus captive in his home for more than nine years, along with Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight, the very thought of him offering comfort is downright sickening for family members.

MOHANDIE: It enables them to blend in and avoid suspicion being cast upon them. Second, they can develop information about where the investigation is headed by pumping the family for information, and third, and maybe sometimes most importantly, it provides them with pleasure. They are there, they are fooling the family, they are seeing the pain that the family might be going through, and if this is a sadistic offender, that pain will be very gratifying.

KAYE: In fact, in the days and weeks following Gina's disappearance, Ariel Castro helped search for her. He hung flyers with her photo and attended rallies. This community activist spoke with ABC News about it.

KHALID SAMAD, CLEVELAND COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: He came up, grabbed some flyers, hugged Gina's father, so he was definitely very, very, very sophisticated in his evil.

KAYE: And yet there's another strange twist. Gina Dejesus and Ariel Castro's daughter Arlene were best friends. In fact, Arlene was the last person to see her. Gina had given Arlene 50 cents to make a phone call so Gina didn't have money for the bus. Gina had to walk home instead, and that's when she was taken. Through tears, Arlene apologized to Gina on ABC's "Good Morning America."

ARLENE CASTRO, DAUGHTER OF ARIEL CASTRO: I'm absolutely so, so sorry. I really want to see you, Gina, and I want you to meet my kids. I'm so sorry for everything.

KAYE: And another of Ariel Castro's children is also connected. His son, Anthony, wrote this article for "The Plain Press" back in 2004, titled "Gina Dejesus' disappearance has changed her neighborhood." In it, he interviews Gina's mother, who tells him now people are watching out for each other's kids. It's a shame that a tragedy had to happen to really know my neighbors. Little did she know one neighbor had taken her daughter, and had no plans to give her back. Randi Kaye, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: Tonight, Ariel Castro is in custody, as you know. I mentioned earlier his bail set at $8 million. Gina spent her second full day reuniting with her family, her aunt, Sandra Ruiz and her cousin, join me now. First of all, I don't want to ask anything that invades on her privacy so just use your judgment on what you're going to say but how is she doing?

SANDRA RUIZ, GINA DEJESUS' AUNT: She's in great spirits, you know, finally some people listened and she spent an hour and a half outside and I have never seen her, I mean, it's just exciting.

COOPER: An hour and a half like in the backyard?

RUIZ: In the backyard.

COOPER: Under the sun. RUIZ: Yes, until the helicopters showed up and ruined it all, but she's doing good.

COOPER: That must be so incredible for her to have been outside. From all we've heard, she was rarely if ever outside.

RUIZ: She was very, very happy to be outside, but unfortunately, it was short-lived.

COOPER: Some news helicopters or something?

RUIZ: Yes.

COOPER: That's terrible. How's the family doing, to have her back?

RUIZ: Words cannot express, cannot express, the joy that we have.

COOPER: Did you think this day would come? So many family members I talked to said they held on to hope, but there's got to be some days where it's hard to hang on to that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some days you give up, but thank God we had the strength and we had the Lord on our side.

RUIZ: Her mama never did give up. Nancy, every single day --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She made everyone else --

RUIZ: She made everybody else believe Gina was coming home. She was right.

COOPER: Yes. I know when Shawn Hornbeck was found, a young man who was held captive for four and a half years, they were interviewed saying that it gave them hope to kind of keep moving forward.

RUIZ: Yes. You got that. It did. It did.

COOPER: What was that moment like? We saw Gina coming home yesterday. I saw you in the video as well. Just to see her stepping through that door.

RUIZ: It's a miracle. I just can't explain it. I can't explain it. It's hard to believe, you know. It's still kind of surreal but every day, we're like yes, God heard us and she's here.

COOPER: And your faith is what kept you going.

RUIZ: Yes. Yes.

COOPER: I've talked to a lot of people who have had this experience with their loved ones coming back and all of them have said to me it's important not to pressure the person to talk, to just let them in their own time. Is that what you guys are doing?

RUIZ: That's why we don't -- we want space.


RUIZ: We want her to acclimate with, you know, being able to sit outside and enjoy the wind and hear the birds. People don't understand that, shame on them. I hope it never happens to them, never.

SYLVIA COLON, GINA DEJESUS' COUSIN: We just want her to be with our family and get to know us again as well. It's really difficult when people don't listen.

COOPER: My belief is she has a right to her privacy and if she never wants to talk about what happened publicly, that's fine, too. It's all about what she wants.

RUIZ: Exactly. You hit it right on the nail. It's her decision, not yours, not mine, not mom's, not dad's. It's going to be her decision.

COOPER: Especially after being in a situation where she hasn't been able to exercise her own decision making for all this time, that's even more important that she's the one making these decisions.

RUIZ: And again, it comes down to freedom and I think she came out of one prison and to some degree, she's in another prison.

COOPER: It really feels like that.

RUIZ: It really feels like that.

COOPER: I hope you're given the space and the time. Thank you so much. My best wishes to your family.

RUIZ: We want to thank you, because you have been awesome. I want you to understand that, you know, you're patient and we love that, and I wish more people can follow.

COOPER: I appreciate that. Thank you very much.

RUIZ: Thank you very much. We really do appreciate that.

COLON: Thank you.

COOPER: Up next, a lot of questions still swirling. Did police miss opportunities to check Castro's home over the years and rescue the women earlier? They flatly say no, that's not the case, but two brothers make a startling claim about the day Gina Dejesus vanished. Talk about that ahead.


COOPER: One persistent question in this neighborhood this week. Did police miss opportunities to discover or maybe free the women from captivity earlier? Some neighbors insist calls were made to police over the years about suspicious incidents such as a naked woman seen in Ariel Castro's backyard.

Cleveland police, however, insist that's not the case. In an initial review of police data bases fails to show any reports were made from anyone living near the Seymour Avenue house. They say, however, that an examination of the data base is ongoing.

Gary Tuchman found two men making a startling claim about the night Gina Dejesus went missing in 2004. Here's his report.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eric Poindexter believes he could have helped Cleveland police end this kidnapping nightmare nine years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My brother and I was driving down the street on the day Gina Dejesus was abducted.

TUCHMAN: The street is West 105th, only a couple blocks away from the school Gina was walking home from the day she was kidnapped. Eric and his brother were driving when a car came up on their left in the turning lane.

(on camera): Then you saw a girl walking down the sidewalk on that side of the street.

ERIC POINDEXTER, SAYS HE CALLED IN TIP TO POLICE: Right over there, right by that brick building.

TUCHMAN (on camera): What did you see this driver do after that?

POINDEXTER: Once we crossed Fidelity, this intersection, he swerved in front of us, almost hitting us, to get into where the "parking lane," quote/unquote, is, and as soon as we passed him up, he did a u-turn, didn't care if anybody was coming the other way or nothing, hit a u-turn right in front -- right in front of towards where the little girl was walking.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): In this week's police report about the case, authorities reveal Gina has confirmed she was kidnapped at West 105th Street.

(on camera): After Eric and his brother saw the car make a u- turn and head towards the girl, they also made a u-turn, angry that they almost got hit by the driver and also concerned about the girl. But when they got to the spot where they had seen the girl, they no longer did. She was gone.

(voice-over): It wasn't long before reports surfaced about a missing girl named Gina Dejesus. So Eric and his brother say they immediately called the police to tell them what they saw.

POINDEXTER: She was wearing tight black pants and a puffy gray jacket.

TUCHMAN (on camera): What was the description of Gina Dejesus after she went missing?

POINDEXTER: There was a little girl, Puerto Rican girl with long curly black hair wearing black pants, tight black pants and a gray puffy jacket.

TUCHMAN: Same exact descriptions.

POINDEXTER: Same exact descriptions.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Eric says the authorities never seemed to think their information was credible.

POINDEXTER: It seemed like they was looking at us like we was just looking for attention or something like that.

TUCHMAN (on camera): The police.

POINDEXTER: Yes. They didn't seem to give any real true desire to the case, know what I'm saying? What we was telling them, they thought we were blowing smoke up their butts or something. I don't know.

TUCHMAN: Why do you think that is?

POINDEXTER: I have no clue.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): After the arrest of Ariel Castro, Eric and his brother say that is the face they saw behind the wheel that day. But theirs isn't the only story that if acted upon could have ended the terror allegedly brought by Ariel Castro.

In 2004, after Castro, who was a school bus driver, had allegedly kidnapped two girls and was about to kidnap Gina Dejesus, he left a child on his bus as he headed into the bus depot. I asked police why Castro wasn't more aggressively questioned about the incident.

DEPUTY CHIEF ED TOMBA, CLEVELAND POLICE: He was interviewed extensively relative to this complaint that we had. He was not a suspect in any other complaint. This was -- he was a bus driver who inadvertently, so he says, left a kid on a bus, went in for a lunch break, came back and then found the young man.

TUCHMAN: Castro was never prosecuted for that incident. A year later, Castro was accused in court documents of repeated abuse and domestic violence against his common law wife, Grimilda Figueroa. He was accused of everything from breaking her nose twice to dislocating her shoulders.

But the case was ultimately dismissed because of numerous delays caused by Castro not showing up and attorneys for both sides not showing up. Police strongly defend their work on this case, saying they have no records of any recent calls pertaining to Ariel Castro. They also tell us they have not been able to confirm if they have records of talking to Eric and his brother back when the kidnapping happened. POINDEXTER: I now believe 100 percent in my heart that he was there to abduct that little girl. I believe that little girl was Gina Dejesus.


COOPER: Gary Tuchman joins me now. Are police willing to say they need to look at their procedures at all?

TUCHMAN: We asked the police if they dropped the ball, if it's possible they dropped the ball. They say in hindsight that might have happened. That's good. That shows flexibility to investigate this.

One thing you have to keep in mind, it's unbelievable, that this guy Castro drove his school bus for 21 years. He was just fired last year. So for 21 years, all these red flags, he's still driving the bus. There are hundreds of kids and adults who were kids back then who drove with this guy from 1991 to 2012.

COOPER: It's incredible. Gary, appreciate the reporting.

Just ahead, the body of Boston marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been laid to rest. Where? New details on that tonight.

Plus First Lady Michelle Obama welcoming a surprise visitor to a White House Tea Party. Details ahead.


COOPER: More from Cleveland here ahead. First, some other news, today, the Obama administration promised an additional $100 million in aid to help Jordan deal with the influx of Syrian refugees. More than 500,000 Syrians have sought safety in Jordan, running from the long civil war that has killed more than 70,000 people there.

The 360 obviously has closely followed the civil war since it began over two years ago. We chronicled the horrors the people have endured at the hands of the Bashar Al Assad regime. We have been told many times, you probably know if you watched this show, you heard his voice.

His family reports he was arrested two weeks ago near his Damascus home. They have no information about him. We want to point out he was also arrested back in December after his release. I spoke to him about his conditions of his detention back then. Listen.


ZAIDOUN AL ZOABI, SYRIAN ACTIVIST (via telephone): It is a fact before madness, death. I hear many horror stories. I could not imagine what happens inside. It is not the physical torture. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the torture of souls.

COOPER: We have talked often over the last more than a year and you insisted on using your name. Was there a moment, did you ever regret that? Do you regret that now? ZOABI: Never, Anderson. Not for a single second, never. I feel more responsible now. We all talk about the martyrs, about the people who are killed every day, but no one is talking about those people who are inside these detention centers, these horror places. We should all unite.

I am committed not only for the people in Syria now. Now I understand more. I'm feeling now committed to any kid who is oppressed in the world. There is the power of life in face of death. Peace in face of war. We should all come together and fight dictatorship.

COOPER: What I find heroic about you and about others who speak out is not that you do not have fear, but it's that you experience fear just like everybody else, but that doesn't stop you from continuing to speak out. And even now, you are speaking out. Do you worry you could be arrested again?

ZOABI: Yes. Of course, I am. The story hasn't ended.


COOPER: The story has not ended. The nightmare has not ended. His family says he was arrested two weeks ago. They have had no information about his detention. We will keep you updated with any news we get.

There is a lot more happening tonight. Isha is here with the "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the body of Boston marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev has finally been entombed. However, the location is unknown. An employee of the funeral home that handled the body would only say it was interred outside of Massachusetts.

The sentencing phase of Jodi Arias' trial was postponed today until Wednesday. Yesterday, she was found guilty of first degree murder for killing Travis Alexander. Jurors will now decide a sentence for Arias which could include the death penalty.

Britain's Prince Harry paid a visit to First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House today. It's the first leg of his week-long tour of the United States -- Anderson.

COOPER: Hope it goes better than the last one. Isha, thanks. We'll be right back.


COOPER: It's been an incredibly emotional week in Cleveland. For four days, three families have begun processing the reality of what they've been hoping for so many years, the reality that their missing loved ones are alive. We wish Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus and Michelle Knight and their families strength and peace in the difficult days to come. And we leave you this hour with some of the sights and sounds from here in Cleveland since the word first came in that the women were out of that house.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus and a third woman have been found alive and they're doing well.

CHARLES RAMSEY: Heard her screaming. I'm eating my McDonald's. I come outside, I see this girl going nuts.

AMANDA BERRY: Help me, I'm Amanda Berry! I've been kidnapped and I've been missing for ten years and I'm here, I'm free now!

RAMSEY: So I did what I had to do and kicked the bottom of the door, and she crawled out of it. She grabbed her baby and threw me off, all right, fine. I got some girl and her kid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Georgina Dejesus might be in this house also. We found them. We found them. She's got a young child with her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We also have a Michelle Knight in the house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to say we are so happy to have Amanda and her daughter home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are not enough words to say or express the joy that we feel for the return of our family member, Gina.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My first reaction is I saw my daughter, only thing I did was grab her and hug her. I didn't want to let go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm thrilled. All I want to do is hug her and say I love you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cleveland is great, god is good. Miracle! Miracle. Miracle.


COOPER: Today, Ariel Castro was arraigned on four counts of kidnapping, three counts of rape. That does it for this edition of 360. We'll be back one hour from now, another live edition at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. We'll have an exclusive interview with one of Ariel Castro's daughters. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.