The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

September 7, 2013

Castro called mother of victim

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.

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 told Amanda Berry’s mother that her daughter was OK. He says he made the call on Amanda Berry’s cellphone.

“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. His family collected his body from the Franklin County Coroner’s office Friday.

In the taped interrogation, Castro also told investigators that authorities missed opportunities to catch him while he held the kidnapped women, who were ages 14, 16 and 20 when captured.

Castro said cameras at the school of victim Gina DeJesus 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.

Representatives of the victims did not respond to messages seeking comment Friday morning.

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