Cleveland resident Ariel Castro is charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape in connection with the three missing Cleveland women who were found in his house almost a decade after they disappeared.
CLEVELAND, OHIO, UNITED STATES (MAY 8, 2013) (NBC) - Cleveland resident Ariel Castro was charged on Wednesday (May 8) with raping and kidnapping three women who were rescued from his house on Monday after nearly a decade in captivity.
"I just signed criminal complaints charging Ariel Castro with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. The seven criminal complaints are first-degree felonies," said Cleveland city prosecutor Victor Perez at a news conference.
Castro's two brothers Pedro and Onil, originally arrested in the case, were not charged, officials said.
"There is nothing that leads us to believe that they were involved, or that they had any knowledge of this - and that comes from statements of our victims, their statements and their brother's statements. So as far as what their relationship is, Ariel kept everybody at a distance," said Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Ed Tombasaid at the same news conference.
The charges came as police revealed that the women, who were rescued on Monday after one of them, Amanda Berry, fled with the help of a neighbor, had not seen any previous chances to escape in nearly ten years of captivity.
"The only opportunity, after interviewing the young ladies, to escape was the other day when Amanda escaped," Tomba said.
"They don't believe that they've been outside that home for the last 10 years respectively," he added.
Police said earlier that they found ropes and chains in the house that had been used to hold them prisoner. No human remains were found, they said.
Castro, 52, faces four counts of kidnapping relating to Berry, now 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, Michelle Knight, 32, and Berry's 6-year-old daughter who was conceived and born during her mother's captivity, authorities said.
A paternity test will be conducted to determine the girl's father, Tomba said.
Castro is not a suspect in any other cases, he said.
Authorities were searching a second house in relation to the case, Tomba said.
Berry and DeJesus went to their families' homes on Wednesday, while Knight was in a Cleveland hospital where a spokeswoman said she was in good condition.
The rape charges against Castro relate to Berry, DeJesus and Knight, the prosecutor said. He would be arraigned on Thursday morning, the prosecutor said.
Investigators took some 200 pieces of evidence from the Castro house, which Tomba said was "in quite a bit of disarray."
Born in Puerto Rico, Ariel Castro played bass in Latin music bands in the area. Records show he was divorced more than a decade ago and his ex-wife had since died. He is known to have at least one adult daughter and son.
World News >