REUTERS, AP, BBC
CLEVELAND — Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man sentenced to life in prison for the kidnapping, rape and beatings of three Cleveland women he held captive in his house for nearly 10 years, was found hanged in his prison cell late Tuesday evening, Reuters reports.
According to a prison official quoted by Associated Press, Castro is believed to have committed suicide. JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, wrote in a statement: "Upon finding inmate Castro, prison medical staff began performing life saving measures. Shortly after he was transported to the prison medical facility where he was pronounced dead at 10:52 pm."
Castro, 53, had been placed in protective custody because of the media impact of his case, but was not on suicide watch, according to the BBC. Smith explained: "He was housed in protective custody which means he was in a cell by himself and rounds are required every 30 minutes at staggered intervals." She added that a "thorough review" of the incident was under way to establish how Castro was able to hang himself.
The former school bus driver had been sentenced to life plus 1,000 years in prison on August 1. He pleaded guilty to 937 counts including rape and kidnapping. He abducted three young women between 2002 and 2004 and kept them chained up. They escaped from Castro's home on May 6 when one of them, Amanda Berry, managed to break part of a door and yelled through the crack for neighbors to help them.