Cleveland — Demolition has begun on the US house where three women were held captive and raped for over a decade, and authorities want to make sure the rubble isn't sold online as "murderabilia", though no one died there.
The house is being torn down as part of a deal that spared Ariel Castro a possible death sentence. He was sentenced last week to life in prison plus 1 000 years.
One of the women, Michelle Knight, showed up early on Wednesday at the house to make a brief statement and release some balloons. A crowd of onlookers cheered as the demolition began.
The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reports that the Cuyahoga Land Bank plans to complete the demolition in one day and shred the building materials.
Relatives said the house razing was part of the healing process.
The three women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. Each had accepted a ride from Castro.
They escaped on 6 May, when Amanda Berry, now 27 years old, broke part of a door and yelled to neighbours for help. Castro was arrested that evening.
The house, which quickly became an attraction, was kept under 24-hour police guard amid arson threats.