When I first saw the headline today, I almost couldn't even bring myself to read the story. The Ohio man who kidnapped and held three women hostage for years, Ariel Castro, may have died from auto-erotic asphyxiation, not suicide. It's just so disgusting all around. According to a report by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Castro was found dead with his pants and underwear pulled down around his ankles. This suggests to them that Castro may not have been trying to kill himself. But no one is certain at this point.
Auto-erotic asphyxiation, in case you're not familiar with the term, is when you try to get off sexually by briefly strangling yourself until you pass out. We know Castro died from strangulation, but it was assumed by most that he deliberately hung himself to commit suicide. He did not leave a suicide note, and none of his mental health evaluations showed signs that he was contemplating suicide.
I think we all had angry and resentful feelings about Castro's early death. His apparent suicide seems cowardly, the easy way out. But at least it gave us the impression that he was in great turmoil. This new theory of how he may have died is somehow worse. It implies that he wasn't in so much turmoil that he wanted to end his life. In fact, he may have died with a smile on his face. That's a hideously unacceptable end for us to imagine. For Ariel Castro to die in the midst of a pleasurable activity, however depraved -- it's grossly unfair. But then, life is unfair.
Another disturbing discovery: Video shows that two prison guards falsified logs for routine checks on Castro. Through the afternoon and evening leading up to Castro's death, the guards missed at least eight required checks on him. If they had been looking in on their prisoner like they were supposed to be doing, he might still be alive -- still in prison, paying for his crimes.
If there's any consolation in this story, I guess it's that Castro died in ignominy, with his pants around his ankles. I guess that's fitting. At least his death had no dignity whatsoever.
Do you think Castro committed suicide, or was it an accidental death?
Image via FBI