Castro was on close observation but was not under suicide watch, which requires constant observation. Guards were meant to check on him once every 30 minutes, and it was during one of these routine rounds that his body was found hanging. Prison officials attempted to resuscitate Castro before he was taken to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead. “A thorough review of this incident is under way,” said law enforcement spokeswoman JoEllen Smith. “And more information can be provided as it becomes available pending the status of an investigation.”
In early June, prison officials took Castro off suicide watch after it was determined that he was no longer a risk. Although Castro’s attorneys had attempted to have a psychological examination performed at Cuyahoga County Jail before he was transferred to state authorities after his August 6 conviction. Between 2002 and 2004, Castro kidnapped three women ages 14, 16 and 20 years old. The women were locked away, kept in Castro’s home and repeatedly raped, starved and beaten for a period of about a decade.
News of Castro’s horrific crimes first came to light on May 6 when one of the imprisoned women broke free from Castro’s home and yelled to passersby to call the police. Castro was later arrested that same evening.
For his own safety, Castro had been kept in isolation away from the general prison population and had been placed under protective custody. He had displayed suicidal tendencies in the past, and it was revealed during the sentencing phase that investigators had found an old suicide note and confession among the possessions at his home.
City officials and law enforcement have been quick to erase any memory of Castro. A few weeks ago,Castro’s home, along with ones on two adjacent lots next to it were torn down, and early last month, the 53-year-old pleaded guilty to more than 900 charges levied against him, including murder, rape and kidnapping.
About a week later, Castro was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole plus an additional 1000 years. The sentence was part of a plea deal with prosecutors meant to help his victims and their family members avoid the emotional ordeal of a lengthy trial. In exchange, Castro was spared the death penalty.
Castro had been held at the Correctional Reception Center since August 5, where he was ordered to undergo physical and psychological evaluations before he was to be transferred to a more permanent lock up.
A long time bus driver for Cleveland public schools Castro had been fired in 2012 for a series of disciplinary actions against him. He lured each one of his victims into his car by offering each of the women a ride.
When the women finally escaped earlier this summer, a six-year-old girl, the daughter of one of Castro’s victims was discovered along with them. Fathered by Castro, she was delivered in a baby pool at Castro’s home.