Ariel Castro has been sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years for abducting three women in Cleveland and subjecting them to unspeakable torture for over a decade. Today is Castro's sentencing and law enforcement agents are testifying to what they discovered in the house and by interviewing the women, Amanda Berry, Georgina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight. As might be expected, some horrific details are coming out about their time in captivity. Many have wondered how Ariel managed to get three women into his house to begin with. Well, he used his children. That's right, he used the names of his children -- all of whom were well-known to his victims -- to lure them inside his chamber of horrors. In short, the women trusted him. Because they knew his children. They felt they knew him. They were wrong.
Michelle, who was the first to be kidnapped when she was 20, says she was walking to visit the social worker who was in charge of her child, reportedly the child of rape, and who had been taken away from her. This girl had already seen a lot of heartbreak in her life, and she was about to get a whole lot more thanks to the monster Ariel Castro.
Castro saw her walking and pulled up alongside her in his car. Michelle knew Castro's daughter, Emily, and therefore knew Castro. So when he asked if she needed a ride, she got in his car. He then asked her if she would like a puppy for her son. She agreed to go look at puppies, and so they went to his house. Inside the house, she saw a dog but no puppies. Beginning to become fearful, she tried to leave, but was then forced into the basement, restrained with chains and plastic ties, and raped.
The stories are similar with Amanda and Gina. Amanda, then aged 16, had just gotten off work at Burger King and was walking when she saw Castro and what she thought was a woman she knew in a car. So she smiled. Later on, Castro reappeared with his car and asked if she needed a ride. Thinking she knew Castro, since she knew the woman he was with earlier, she got into his car, which was a van. Inside, she realized there was no other woman. But Ariel put her at ease by asking her if she knew his son -- who also worked at Burger King. She said she did.
He then asked her if she knew his daughter Angie, and she replied that she did. He asked if she would like to see Angie, who was at his house. She said sure. So they went to his house, and soon Amanda was restrained and raped too.
Gina, the youngest of the victims, was only 14 when she was kidnapped. She had been walking with Castro's daughter, Rosie (full name is Arlene), who was her good friend, and they called Rosie's mother to ask if Rosie could stay over Gina's house. The answer was no, so the two separated. Soon Castro appeared in his car and asked Gina if she knew where his daughter was. Assuming that he meant Rosie, she agreed to look for her with him and got in his car.
Castro then said he needed to get money first and asked if she would mind going to his house. She agreed. They got to his house and then Castro asked if she would help him carry out a speaker and put it into his car. She agreed. Soon she was in the house and also trapped.
It's sickening to think that he used his own sons and daughters to lure the women into a false sense of security that led to their entrapment. Which one of us wouldn't have felt safe? Which one of us wouldn't have felt that since Castro was the father of friends, was a local from the neighborhood, not to mention his general demeanor, which is calm and nonthreatening, that it would be okay to get into his vehicle? "They were very trusting," said an agent who testified at the sentencing.
These girls could have been any one of us -- or any of our children. We warn our children about strangers. We don't warn them about parents of friends.
Unfortunately, perhaps we should.
What do you tell your children about getting into cars or going with parents of friends of theirs?
Image via ABC News