Officials Call For Answers After Cleveland Kidnapper Hanged Himself In Prison Cell


UPDATED: Wednesday September 4, 2013 6:57 PM

Ohio officials are investigating after Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell.

Officials say 53-year-old Ariel Castro was found hanging in his cell around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient.

Prison medical staff performed CPR before Castro was taken to the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 10:52 p.m.

10TV has learned that authorities with the Office of Investigative Services, part of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, were dispatched to the prison.

The Franklin County Coroner says an autopsy confirmed the death was a suicide by strangulation.

A prison spokeswoman said Castro was in protective custody because of the notoriety of his case, meaning he was checked every 30 minutes. He was not on a "suicide watch," according to officials.

The investigative unit will be looking into that, and the manner in which Castro hanged himself.

On Wednesday afternoon, Gary Mohr, the director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, commissioned a team to analyze the death of Castro.

The review team, chaired by Ed Banks, DRC’s managing director of organizational development, will include professionals from DRC’s legal, medical, mental health, security and operational divisions, officials said in a release on Wednesday afternoon.

Prison officials said the review is part of protocol in the wake of such incidents.

The review is separate to a review being conducted by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Castro's attorney Craig Weintraub told 10TV that he is also working to get answers for Ariel Castro's family.

"I think there needs to be an in-depth investigation into what happened.  This just doesn't happen over a 30-day period in a high profile case," said Weintraub.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is responsible for investigations within correctional facilities.

In Cleveland, many news stations and local residents again flocked to Seymour Avenue where the Castro victims were held in captivity.

The home has been torn down, and the lot is now a garden.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson released the following statement:

"Our focus remains on the well-being of the survivors of Seymour Avenue. It is our sincere hope that they will continue to heal and recover. I ask the community to continue to respect the privacy of the survivors so that they can move forward with their lives."

Those who knew Castro and lived near him in Cleveland had different reactions to the news on Wednesday.

Janet Garcia said, through a translator, that above all, Castro was a human being.

“She says that he is human,” translator Aurora Marti said. “She’s saddened and it hurts to discover or become aware of such news. He’s a human regardless of what he did in life, and she is very sad for his mom.”

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