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Video testimony of Hardin County kidnapping victim played in court

The girl, who was 7 years old at the time of the crime, appeared via video to describe in her own words what happened to her last November in Hardin County.

KENTON, Ohio — When asked who took her from her home last November, the little girl was clear. Her answer? Chuck.

She would identify Chuck as Charles Castle, the defendant who is facing 17 charges, including rape, kidnapping and attempted murder. He has pleaded not guilty.

That video deposition, which was recorded last Thursday, was played in a Hardin County courtroom on Wednesday, the third day of Castle’s trial. The judge ordered that the media not record that testimony.

The little girl was asked a series of questions by both the prosecution and defense, often while clutching a stuffed lamb named Butterscotch. At times, she also colored on paper with markers.

As per court instructions, Castle was in another room but could be seen on a laptop screen beside her, if she chose to look. It appeared she did so several times, at one time stopping her testimony to remark that she thought she was crying.

And Castle, in fact, was visibly crying, often wiping away tears, while watching the replay of that deposition in court on Wednesday.

The girl described being taken from her home to a camper and bound with tape on her wrists and mouth. She talked about being held in the closet of the camper and knowing that her father had stopped by looking for her. She says she didn’t yell because she didn’t “want Chuck to get mad.”

She described having a lamp cord wrapped around her neck to the point of passing out and then waking up in the basement. She also says that Chuck threw her down into the basement. She says she tried to get out several times but could not.

She then was asked several questions related to potential sexual assault. Each time, she answered “no” or said she could not remember when asked if she had been touched in certain places.

She also was asked by the defense attorney if she knew anyone by the name of Charlie. She answered no. That’s a key point that ties into earlier testimony. On Tuesday, Hardin County Sheriff’s Det. Scott Willoby took the stand to describe his rescue of the little girl. He says she repeatedly used the name Charlie, insisting it’s a memory that has stuck with him.

The last witness to take the stand Wednesday was a sexual assault nurse examiner. She described her exam and interview of the little girl the night she was found.

The nurse testified that, when the little girl was asked about how she got all of her scratches, she answered that Chuck had pushed her down the stairs. She also said the marks on her neck were caused by Chuck.

And those red marks were visible in pictures from that night shown on the projector screen in court on Wednesday. They also showed petechiae, which are small red marks that can appear as freckles on someone who has been choked or strangled. Those red dots could be seen on the little girl’s face, eyelids, ears and scalp.

When asked by the nurse if she had been touched in certain places, she answered no to every question.

Court resumes at 9 a.m. Thursday.

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