Wednesday, April 23, 2014
The Associated Press
CLEVELAND — A man charged with holding three women captive for about a decade had been accused of threatening his neighbors, attacking his common-law wife and committing violations during his career as a school bus driver, according to records released Monday.
The Cleveland police reports correspond with accounts provided by relatives of suspect Ariel Castro last week that portrayed a man prone to violent outbursts, especially when it came to the mother of his children and incursions onto his property.
Castro, 52, is charged with kidnapping and rape, but prosecutors expect to file more charges. The three women whom he is accused of holding captive disappeared between August 2002 and April 2004. They were rescued last week when one of them escaped the home.
The records released Monday were produced by police officers investigating complaints against Castro. They do not track what happened to the complaints after they were taken.
Several of Castro's relatives and acquaintances have said allegations of violence are at odds with the man they knew, whom they described as polite, a "cool" bass player and a "sweet, happy person."
A veteran defense attorney now representing Castro, Craig Weintraub, did not respond to phone and email messages Monday seeking comment on the current and prior allegations. A public defender had represented Castro at his initial court appearance but said she couldn't speak to his guilt or innocence.
SEPT. 30, 1989:
Grimilda Figueroa called police and reported that Castro, her "common-law husband of nine years," attacked her after she asked him where he was going with one of his brothers. After slapping Figueroa several times, "he then grabbed her and slammed her several times against the wall and several times against the washing machine," according to the report.
Figueroa, who died of cancer last year, was treated at a hospital for a bruised right shoulder, the report said. She told police she had been assaulted by Castro several other times but didn't report it.
Figueroa was referred to the prosecutor's office, according to the report. There is no court record of any charge having been filed.
MARCH 10, 1993:
Two parents tried to board Castro's school bus because their son had been getting assaulted, records show.
The parents told police they had begun accompanying him to the bus stop in the morning. On that day, "another such incident occurred in their presence," the report said.
"At which time, they got on the bus to stop it. However were shoved by the driver," the report said. Castro claimed that the parent shoved him back into his seat.
There were no injuries reported, according to the report, which said the case was turned over to the Cleveland city schools. There's no court record of any charges.
DEC. 26, 1993:
Figueroa again reported Castro, telling police he threw her to the ground, hit her about the head and face and kicked her body. Her son then fled out the front door and Castro chased him, according to the report, which said Figueroa locked the door and Castro couldn't get back in. He ran away when police arrived, and was chased by officers through a neighboring yard and arrested, the report said.
Figueroa told police that she had brain surgery a month before the attack and was prone to seizures, but then refused medical attention.
Although Figueroa told police the next day she didn't want to pursue charges, a city prosecutor filed charges of domestic violence and disorderly conduct. Records show Castro pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct on Dec. 28; a grand jury declined to charge him with domestic violence, county records show.
NOV. 29, 1994:
A man was checking on rental property near Castro's house and noticed his chain-link fence was missing, according to the records. He went to Castro's home to inquire about it, and Castro became upset, the report said. Castro picked up a shovel and attempted to hit the man with it, then told him that "he was going to take care of him," according to the report.
The incident was referred to prosecutors, the report said, but there is no record of charges being filed.
MAY 16, 1996
A man who relatives have described as Figueroa's boyfriend after she left Castro was dropping her children off at school when, the man said, Castro pulled up behind him and threatened him.
Castro drove off after the man tried to get out of his car and talk to him, the man told police, adding: "He believes that named suspect would have ran him over if he did not get out of his way."
The situation, described as "an ongoing problem," was referred to prosecutors. There is no record of any charges.
AUG. 17, 1996
In a 1996 report, a woman who described Castro as her ex-neighbor told police he pulled in front of her driveway and screamed a threat before driving away.
Police referred the woman to prosecutors; there is no record of charges.
JAN. 26, 2004
Castro was arrested for abduction and child endangerment after he drove around town with a child on the bus, according to a police report.
The report says Castro told the boy, "Lay down b----," then went inside a fast-food restaurant and ate lunch, leaving the child alone on the bus. Afterward, he drove around for a while and parked the vehicle at a bus parking lot. It wasn't until about 2 p.m. that he returned the child to his home, the report said.
The child was examined at MetroHealth Hospital and released.
Castro told police he noticed the boy in his seat and took the child home after consulting with the teacher by phone, the report said.
The Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services investigated the complaint of child abuse and neglect and found it to be "unsubstantiated."
The police investigation showed there was no criminal intent in the abandoned child case, city Safety Director Martin Flask has said. Police went to Castro's home to question him, but no one came to the door, Flask said. They later interviewed Castro elsewhere, authorities have said.
In a letter dated Oct. 9, 2012, the school district's transportation director, Ann Carlson, recommended that Castro be terminated because he left his bus unattended for four hours the month before.
"Mr. Castro's explanation was that his preschool route was cancelled that day and since he only lives two blocks away, he went home," the letter said.