It’s a story so bizarre, it’s hard to believe.
For over a decade, Ariel Castro held three women captive in rooms smaller than a closet, sexually and physically abused them, starved them, forced one to have a baby, and induced miscarriages in another.
All because, in his own words, he was a victim of a sexual addiction.
But for all the gruesome details emerging about the living conditions that these women endured after being kidnapped, there are even more that suggest police could have stopped the harrowing experience a long time ago.
Neighbors’ phone calls, Castro’s abusive past, and even the fortified home that he lived in never rang a bell for law enforcement, and they never found it necessary to investigate.
Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight are all safe and sound now, and that, we’re thankful for. But could these signs have alerted police to the sinister actions of the friendly neighborhood bus driver, Ariel Castro?
1. One neighbor called police in 2004 to alert them that a naked woman was crawling on her hands and knees in the backyard of the house. Police showed up, but never went inside to investigate.
2. A group of senior citizens witnessed a young woman clutching a baby banging on the upstairs window. Police didn’t arrive for another two hours and Castro never answered the door.
3. Another neighbor heard pounding on the home’s doors, alerted police, who again never investigated.
4. Neighbors were curious about the plastic bags and wooden boards placed over all of Castro’s windows…material that we now know hid the three women from the outside world.
5. Police visited the house again in 2004 because of a disturbance, but no one answered the door.
6. The son of Ariel Castro, Anthony, said his father padlocked doors leading to the basement of his house. No one, not even family, was granted access to those locked areas.
7. Speaking of Anthony, he told MailOnline that he was never allowed at the home for more than 20 minutes at a time.
8. Neighbors said that he was never seen in the company of women…but then suddenly he started showing up with a 6-year-old girl who he claimed was his girlfriend’s child. We now know that it was his daughter Jocelyn, born to captive Amanda Berry.
9. When Jocelyn was born, why did neighbors not notify police of her screams?
10. Neighbors also noted that the single 52-year-old loner was believed to have lived alone, but would bring home enough bags of fast food and beverages for several people. Sketchy…
11. Speaking of fast food, a neighbor thought it strange when Castro pulled up in his huge yellow school bus to take a bunch of food into the house. Because she knew he was single, and thought that it weird that he would come home in the middle of the day, she called the police. But when they arrived, they just told him not to park the bus on the residential street. WHAT!?
12. A witness also told investigators that Castro left Wade Park Elementary School with a child still on the bus and drove to a Wendy’s restaurant. The child’s gender and age were not given. The Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services, which serves Cleveland, investigated the allegation and concluded the complaint was “unsubstantiated.”
13. Castro also told that student to “Lay down, bitch,” and left the youngster on the bus for an unspecified amount of time. Police went to Castro’s home to interview him, but decided there was no criminal intent. (I can’t…like…huh?)
14. Castro had a violent past. In 1993, he was arrested on a domestic violence complaint but the grand jury decided not to indict him. Why?
15. In 2005, another complaint was filed by his ex-wife (Grimaldi Figueroa) that accused Castro of breaking her nose twice, knocking her teeth out and causing a blood clot in her brain. That case was also dismissed. Again…WHY!?
16. His ex-wife, now deceased, also accused Castro of trying to abduct their daughters. RED FLAG!
17. According to the ex-wife’s lawyer, he also threatened to kill her and their daughters three or four times.
18. Relatives of Figueroa also recalled visiting the home. Castro would make visitors wait 40 minutes before answering the door, and confine them to a single room while a radio played music at a high volume. (No one ever thought this…strange?)
19. Castro was also known by family members to lock his wife in a wooden box, telling her he would let her out when he was ready to.
20. He was a liar. He once told his neighbor and childhood friend that he was in the CIA (probably his attempt to explain why he was so private). And was SERIOUS about it. That threw Joe Popow, 45, off, and he said he started avoiding Castro because…well…his behavior was odd.
21. When family and friends of Gina DeJesus, who was best friends with Castro’s daughter Arlene, gathered to hold a vigil last month to mark the ninth year of her disappearance, guess who randomly showed up? Castro.
22. Even though Gina DeJesus was last seen with Arlene Castro, police didn’t think it necessary to explore the possibility that Ariel could have been involved. Instead, Ariel blamed Arlene’s stepfather, Fernando Colon.
23. Police eventually nixed Colon as a suspect, but had they looked at Castro they would see that he planned on kidnapping his own daughters. Was he planning to kidnap his daughter on the day that Arlene and Gina were together, however, opted to take Gina instead?
24. An old police sketch of Gina DeJesus’ captor looks strikingly similar to what a skinnier, younger Ariel Castro might have looked like…I’m just saying.
25. In 2008, Castro was stopped and questioned by police in a traffic stop for speeding on a motor bike – without a license, a helmet, or proper display of his plates- yet…again…they talked to him and LET HIM GO!
How Castro managed to fool police for this long is beyond us, and we’re no investigators, but this seems like enough evidence to bust up in that house to investigate, no?