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May 9, 2013

Alleged captor of 3 missing women charged with rape and kidnapping

CLEVELAND (AP) — A Cleveland man arrested after three women missing for a decade were found alive at his home was charged Wednesday with kidnapping and raping them. Prosecutors brought no charges against his brothers, saying there was no evidence they had any part in the crime.

Ariel Castro, 52, was charged with four counts of kidnapping — covering all three captives and the daughter born to one of them while she was held — and three counts of rape against the three women. The former school bus driver owns the peeling, run-down home where the women were rescued on Monday, after one of them broke through a screen door.

At a news conference, authorities gave few details on the women’s ordeal. But police said earlier in the day that they were apparently bound with ropes and chains, and a city councilman briefed on the case, Brian Cummins, said that they were subjected to prolonged sexual and psychological abuse and suffered miscarriages.

Cummins also said the women were kept in the basement for some time.

“We know that the victims have confirmed miscarriages, but with who, how many and what conditions we don’t know,” he said. He added: “It sounds pretty gruesome.”

Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said a paternity test on Castro was being done to establish who fathered the now 6-year-old child of captive Amanda Berry.

Castro was in custody and couldn’t be reached for comment. A brother-in-law has said the family was “shocked” after hearing about the women at the home.

Castro’s brothers, Pedro, 64, and Onil, 50, were also arrested after the women were rescued, but there was no evidence they had any part in the crime, and no charges were brought against them, Cleveland Prosecutor Victor Perez said.

Two of the young women, meanwhile, were welcomed home by jubilant crowds of loved ones and neighbors with balloons and banners Wednesday. The families of Berry and Gina DeJesus protectively took them inside, past hundreds of reporters and onlookers. Neither woman spoke, and their families pleaded for patience and time alone.

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