Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


US kidnap suspect expected to enter plea

12 June 2013, 10:00

Cleveland - A Cleveland man accused of holding three young women captive for a decade is expected to plead not guilty on Wednesday to charges of kidnapping, rape and murder for beating one pregnant captive until she miscarried.

The stunning case came to light after Amanda Berry, aged 27, managed to escape with her 6-year-old daughter by calling out to a neighbour for help through a locked front door.

Police found two more women huddled in the house: Gina DeJesus, aged 23, and Michelle Knight, aged 32. All three had been snatched in separate incidents in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Ariel Castro, aged 52, could face the death penalty if convicted of the aggravated murder charge, which is a capital offense in Ohio if it occurs in connection with a kidnapping.

Most US states have foetal homicide laws which allow prosecutors to punish those who harm pregnant women while also protecting the woman's right to carry out a lawful abortion.

Kidnapping and rape are not capital offenses despite the horrifying ordeal imposed on the three women who were snatched off the street with a promise of a ride home at the ages of 14, 16 and 20.

Horrifying details

The 329-count indictment handed down last week offers glimpses of their suffering even though it only covers the first five years of their captivity.

Knight - who was the first to be snatched - was chained to a post in the basement, repeatedly raped and beaten and impregnated at least four times.

Berry tried to escape the night she was kidnapped but was overwhelmed and then raped. Her legs and mouth were bound with tape, she was chained to a pole in the basement and Castro put a motorcycle helmet on her head, the indictment said. At one point that night, he wrapped a vacuum cord around her neck.

DeJesus was also chained and bound with tape in the basement, beaten and sexually assaulted on the night she was kidnapped. But it was about a month before Castro forced the 14-year-old to have sexual intercourse.

A leaked police report revealed even more horrifying details.

Knight told police that Castro "would make her abort the baby", the police report read. "He starved her for at least two weeks and then repeatedly punched her in stomach until she miscarried."

Behind closed doors

Castro brought in a plastic kiddie pool and forced Berry to give birth in it in order to contain the inevitable mess, the women told police. He also forced Knight to assist and told her "if baby died... he'd kill her".

At one point on that terrifying 25 of December in 2006, the newborn girl stopped breathing and Knight "breathed for her", giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. A DNA test proved that the child is Castro's daughter.

The women said they were chained in the basement during their early years of captivity, but eventually were allowed to live unchained upstairs behind locked doors.

Police were unsure how it was that none of the people who would visit the unassuming house at 2207 Seymour - including Castro's family - realised what was going on behind closed doors.

"Ariel kept everybody at a distance," deputy police chief Ed Tomba said shortly after the arrest.

"The control that he may have had over those girls, we don't know that yet. I think that's going to be - take us a long time to figure that out."



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...