Kidnapping, rape charges approved against one suspect

Kidnapping victims

Amanda Berry, 27

Michelle Knight, 32

Gina DeJesus, 23


Ariel Castro, 52

Pedro Castro, 54

Onil Castro, 50

In a Wednesday evening press conference Cleveland prosecutors announced four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape against 52-year-old Ariel Castro in the decade long confinement of Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, and Gina DeJesus.

He will be arraigned tomorrow in Cleveland Municipal Court and then Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court will take over the case.

Victor Perez, chief city prosecutor, said there is no evidence that the other two individuals taken into custody, Castro’s brothers, had anything to do with holding the women. They are both scheduled to be arraigned on unrelated misdemeanor warrants tomorrow, but are not facing charges in this case at this time.

Police said the belief that the two are not involved stemmed from statements by both individuals as well as the victims. “We found no facts to link them to the crime,” said Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said.

Cleveland Safety Director Marty Flask said police and FBI agents have completed their search of the house where the three women were held captive for nearly a decade, but will not discuss the results of that search or any evidence collected at this time.

“This is an ongoing investigation and there is evidence that cannot be disclosed.”

Police said the rape victims listed on Castro’s charges are Berry, Knight and DeJesus. The kidnapping charges involve the three women and Berry’s child.

Police said the paternity of that child has not yet been determined.

Officials gave some brief new details about the women’s confinement saying they were not held in the same room and they never left the property, venturing only twice from the main house to the garage.

Late developments on Wednesday night indicated the baby Amanda Berry gave birth to while being held captive was delivered by Michelle Knight, after Ariel Castro grabbed her and told her to deliver the baby, CNN reported. According to CNN, the baby reportedly stopped breathing and Castro allegedly said, “if that baby dies, I’m going to kill you.”

Two of three women returned home to their families Wednesday.

Gina DeJesus returned to her home around 2:40 p.m. today. When she exited the van, she gave a thumbs-up to the crowd before being swiftly ushered with her family into the house.

Amanda Berry, the victim who escaped and called for help, arrived at her family’s residence just before noon.

Michelle Knight remains in the hospital but is in good condition.

After Berry’s arrival home, her sister Beth addressed the media. With high emotion, she said the family is thankful for the support and wants privacy.

She also said Berry was inside the home with her child.

About 100 neighbors and Berry’s friends were gathered outside of the home waiting to see her. Balloons and a banner adorned the front porch of the two-story house.

Haley Maggard, whose sister lives near the Berry residence, was there today when Amanda returned.

“I’m really excited they’re all alive. It’s really emotional,” she told WHIO and Dayton Daily News reporter Andy Sedlak.

Maggard said her family also knows Knight and had custody of Knight’s children, she said.

“They would talk about her a lot,” Maggard said of the kids.

A neighbor of the Berry family, Heaven Barrientos, knows Berry’s sister Beth and said the family is tight-knit.

“I’m lost for words, I think it’s amazing that she’s home,” Barrientos said. “I’m kind of thinking … that she just wants her space right now … to get herself together and in tune with this new world that we live in.”

DeJesus’ home is also decorated with balloons and a banner. In a news conference at the DeJesus house, police told media members they must clear out by Friday morning and will not be permitted on the street of the home.

Investigators so far have been tight-lipped about what was found in the Castro home. Cleveland officials said today ropes and chains were recovered from the 2207 Seymour Ave. residence, though they didn’t say how those were used.

A thorough search of the property did not reveal any human remains, officials said.

Other developments:

— Police are looking for evidence of more victims

— A 6-year-old girl believed to be Berry’s daughter was found with the victims

— Ariel Castro is the owner of the Seymour Avenue home and his son, Anthony Castro told police he kept locks on all doors and would not allow him inside

— Anthony Castro wrote an article about one of the missing women when he was a college journalism student

— DeJesus’ uncle said he played in bands with Castro over the last 20 years