September 7, 2013

Video of kidnapper interrogation leaked

Ariel Castro, who took his life Tuesday, says on tape that police missed chances to catch him.

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro said he called the mother of one of his captives and told the woman her daughter was alive and had become his wife, according to interrogation videotapes.

Ariel Castro
click image to enlarge

Ariel Castro listens to his sentencing Aug. 1 in Cleveland. The 53-year-old was found hanged in his cell Sept. 3 at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio.

The Associated Press

Castro also told investigators that authorities missed opportunities to catch him while he held the three women captive for about a decade in a run-down house where they were repeatedly beaten and raped.

Castro says in the video -- obtained by NBC and first reported Friday on the "Today" show -- that he used Amanda Berry's cellphone to call her mother.

"I think I said something ... that I have her daughter and that she's OK, and that she's my wife now -- something like that, you know, probably not the exact words," he told investigators.

When asked for the mother's response, Castro said: "I hung up so we didn't have a conversation."

Castro, 53, was a month into his life sentence when he hanged himself in his prison cell Tuesday night. A funeral home picked up his body Friday from the Franklin County Coroner's office on behalf of his family.

In the taped interrogation, Castro also said there were other missed chances when he could have been captured while he held the victims, who were ages 14, 16 and 20 when captured.

Castro said cameras at victim Gina DeJesus' school should have captured him there 15 minutes before she was abducted.

"You could have broke the case right then and there," he said.

Castro said a girlfriend once noticed a TV on in a room occupied by victim Michelle Knight and that got him worrying that he might be caught.

"Was it a close call?" an investigator said.

"Yeah," he said.

Cleveland police did not respond to requests for comment regarding Castro's claims that there was a missed opportunity to catch him after DeJesus disappeared.

A spokeswoman for the city of Cleveland and its police department said Castro's case records are being reviewed to determine what will be made public under Ohio law. Maureen Harper said the city isn't the source of the video that aired Friday.

The Cuyahoga County prosecutor through his spokesman, Joe Frolik, also denied having released the recording.

Representatives of the victims did not respond to messages seeking comment Friday morning. Berry's mother, Louwana Miller, died in 2006.

The "Today" show report also provides additional details about a 2004 note Castro wrote that investigators found when they searched the house. "I want to put an end to my life and let the devil deal with me," part of the note read.

The state is conducting two reviews related to Castro, Ohio prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said. One looks into the suicide, and the other examines whether Castro received proper medical and mental health care leading up the suicide.

Castro was sentenced Aug. 1 to life in prison plus 1,000 years after pleading guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping and rape, in a deal to avoid the death penalty. "I'm not a monster. I'm sick," he told the judge at sentencing.

Castro's captives disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004. They were rescued from Castro's house May 6 when Berry broke through a screen door.

 

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