L to R: Onil, Ariel, and Pedro Castro
God, can we possibly say it enough times? I'm so glad Amanda Berry, her daughter, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight finally escaped that horrible house! The more details we learn about their alleged captors and the conditions of the house, the more horrified I am. While friends and neighbors of the Castro brothers claim there was nothing to make them suspect they might be holding women hostage, new details about Onil, Pedro, and Ariel Castro are certainly revealing. Here's what we know about the men so far.
Ariel Castro (52) owned the home where the girls were held captive. He was a bus driver with a record of disciplinary problems, including "inadvertently" leaving a child on a bus for two hours in 2004. Reportedly he told the boy to "lay down, bitch." No charges were filed for that. He was fired in 2012 for "demonstrating lack of judgment."
He played the bass in a few Latin bands.
Ariel had a history of domestic abuse. He was arrested in 1993 on domestic abuse charges. He had three (some reports say four) children with his now ex-wife Grimilda Figueroa, who in 2005 alleged that he had "broken her nose twice, broken her ribs, knocked out a tooth, caused a blood clot on her brain that caused an inoperable tumor, and dislocated her shoulder twice." She also says he'd threatened to kill her and her two daughters. Charges were dropped because Figueroa's attorney flaked out on her.
In addition to the above charges, Ariel was also charged with repeatedly abducting the children. Following the couple's divorce in 1997, the court had awarded Grimilda custody of the children.
One of Ariel's daughters is in prison. In 2007 Emily sliced her 11-month-old baby's throat four times, cut her own throat and wrists, and then tried to drown herself in a creek. She's serving 25 years for the murder of her daughter. She was diagnosed with manic depression at the age of 13.
Many friends and neighbors describe Ariel as a regular guy, even friendly. But a family friend of the Castros, Zaida Delgado, picked up on bad vibes from Ariel. "There was something not right about it. He could be flaky and off the wall. He was also arrogant, like 'I am Mr. Cool, I am the best.' He had an attitude, like 'I am God's gift.'" His uncle, Julian, said Ariel had grown more and more withdrawn.
Less is known about Onil (50) and Pedro (54). Both have been unemployed for years and are known to be heavy drinkers. Pedro lived with is mother.
The Castro brothers were reportedly taunted and jeered by other inmates in jail last night. Apparently they put their pillows over their ears and went to sleep.
Honestly, I don't see how anyone could see a man charged with beating his wife, abducting his children, and possibly even attempting to kidnap that little boy on the bus as a "regular Joe." Maybe we see only what we want to see? At any rate, I feel like the world is a safer place with these guys in prison.
Do you think Ariel's domestic abuse and employment history showed red flags?
Image via Cleveland Police