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Entries in Cleveland Kidnapping (4)

Friday
Jun072013

Grand Jury indicts Ariel Castro on 329 counts

Cuyahoga County Jail(CLEVELAND) – The Cleveland man accused of kidnapping three women and holding them for over a decade was indicted on 329 counts by a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury on Friday.

Ariel Castro was indicted for one act of aggravated murder for the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy. He was also indicted on 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felonious assault and one count of possession of criminal tools.

The indictments only cover the period from August of 2002, when the first woman was allegedly kidnapped, to February of 2007.

“[Friday’s] indictments represent a first major step in the criminal justice process,’’ said County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty. “Our investigation continues, and we will present our findings to the grand jury.’’

Castro will be arraigned on the charges and assigned a trial judge next week.

The County Prosecutor’s Capital Review Committee will determine whether Castro is eligible for the death penalty once the indictment process is complete.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
May122013

Cleveland Women Doing Well on First Weekend Home, Ask For Privacy

FBI(CLEVELAND) -- The three Cleveland women who were abducted a decade ago and rescued last week are doing well but pleaded for privacy, their attorneys said Sunday.

At a press conference in Cleveland Sunday morning, attorney James Wooley along with his colleagues Henry Hilow and Heather Kimmel, read a written statement on behalf of Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight.

Michelle, Amanda and Gina "are extremely grateful for the generous assistance and loving support of their families, friends and the community" and thank authorities "for the tireless efforts of numerous law enforcement officials." he said.

Wooley then read statements directly from all three women.

Berry said, "Thank you so much for everything you do and continue to do. I am so happy to be home with my family."

DeJesus said, "I am so happy to be home and want to thank everybody for all your prayers. I just want time now to be with my family."

Knight said, "Thank you to everyone for your support and good wishes. I am healthy, happy and safe and will reach out to family, friends and supporters in good time."

In response to numerous media requests, the attorneys said the women "will not be participating in any interviews" at this time due to the pending criminal investigation and prosecution and, more importantly, Wooley said, because they want privacy "so that they can continue to heal and reconnect with their families."

Since Amanda Berry made a brave bolt for freedom last Monday, prompting police to rescue DeJesus and Knight, the women have been inundated with offers of support, Hillow said.

"[They] are extremely appreciative of this generosity," Hillow said. He urged anyone interested in helping the women to work with "legitimate entities," such as the Cleveland Courage Fund, which was established after their rescue.

The three women were rescued from Ariel Castro's house on Seymour Avenue on Monday evening after Berry managed to escape through the front door.

Berry's 6-year-old daughter Jocelyn, who was fathered by Castro, was also found inside the house.

Castro, 52, was arraigned Thursday in an Ohio court on charges of kidnapping and rape. Bond was set at $8 million. He did not enter a plea.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
May102013

Cleveland Kidnap Victim Michelle Knight Leaves Hospital

iStockphoto/Thinkstock

(CLEVELAND) -- Cleveland kidnap victim Michelle Knight, who may have had the most harrowing ordeal in Ariel Castro's house, said Friday morning she was in "good spirits," but instructed the hospital that she didn't want any visitors. Still, by Friday afternoon a spokeswoman for MetroHealth Hospital confirmed that Knight had left the facility, but would not say where she went.

"Michelle Knight has been discharged from MetroHealth. She is asking for her privacy at this time," the hospital said in a statement.

Knight was freed from more than a decade of captivity along with Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus Monday, and Berry and DeJesus have gone home to warm welcomes from their families and their neighbors.

But Knight, 32, had remained in the hospital, but it's unclear why she left or whether she has had any significant contact with her family.

"Michelle Knight is in good spirits and would like the community to know that she is extremely grateful for the outpouring of flowers and gifts," according to a statement released by the hospital Friday morning. "She is especially thankful for the Cleveland Courage Fund. She asks that everyone please continue to respect her privacy at this time."

A hospital official, however, told ABC News that Knight told them she didn't want any visitors, remaining largely in seclusion.

Knight appears to have had her own special hell before, during and after her captivity.

She was the first of Castro's victims to be kidnapped, according to a police complaint when she was snatched on Aug. 23, 2002. She was 20 years old at the time and in the midst of a custody fight over a child she now hasn't seen now in more than a decade.

And while there were major publicity campaigns to find Berry and DeJesus, few outside of Knight's family knew she was missing until she was discovered inside Castro's house. A missing persons report was filed by the family, but apparently she was dismissed as a runaway by authorities and the case wasn't given much attention.

Her captor appears to have singled Knight out for particular abuse, according to a police report obtained by ABC News affiliate WEWS.

When Berry became pregnant, Castro told Knight to help Berry during labor, with her only help a kiddie swimming pool intended to keep the mess to a minimum.

"Michelle delivered the baby and Michelle stated that Ariel told her that if the baby died, he'd kill her," the police report states.

In what must have been terrifying on several levels for Knight, the newborn baby -- named Jocelyn -- stopped breathing.

"Michelle stated that Joceyln (victim 4) stopped breathing at one point, but she (Knight) breathed into her mouth and 'breathed for her,'" the report states.

Knight may have saved both their lives at that point.

The woman told police that Castro got her pregnant "at least" five times. Each time Castro forced an end to the pregnancy with his own cruel version of an abortion, the police report said.

"She stated that he'd starve her for at least two weeks, then he'd repeatedly punch her in the stomach until she miscarried," the police report says.

The intensity of Knight's relief at finally being rescued was recorded by a Cleveland police officer identified only by his last name Johnson, who wrote the report of the women's release.

Police arrived at the house after Berry escaped, but Knight and DeJesus remained inside. The officers first checked the basement, but found no one.

They then walked up the stairs to the second floor.

"As we neared the top of the stairs Officer Espada hollered out 'Cleveland police,' at which time Michelle Knight ran and threw herself into PO Espada's arms," Johnson wrote in his report.

When DeJesus emerged from another room, "Officer Espada then put Michelle down, who then jumped into my arms," Johnson wrote.

Since the women's rescue, Berry and DeJesus have gone home to warm welcomes by their families and neighbors.

There is no word on why Knight left the hospital. She reportedly has had minimal contact with her family.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
May102013

DNA Test Confirms Cleveland Kidnapping Suspect Fathered 6-Year-Old 

Cuyahoga County Jail(CLEVELAND) -- DNA testing has indicated that Ariel Castro, suspected of kidnapping and raping three women in Cleveland, is the father of the 6-year-old girl born in captivity to one of the kidnapping victims.

The young girl, Jocelyn, is the daughter of Amanda Berry, 27. Berry was allegedly kidnapped by Castro in 2004.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the results of the preliminary DNA testing on Friday.

According to DeWine, the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation obtained a sample of Castro’s DNA for testing Thursday late afternoon, and forensic scientists worked overnight to test it.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







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