COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP):
The man who kidnapped three young women and repeatedly raped them in his Ohio home for nearly a decade, hanged himself in his cell, prison officials said on Wednesday.
Ariel Castro, 53, had started serving a life prison term after being sentenced last month to life in prison plus 1,000 years on his guilty plea in one of the most sensational criminal cases in recent United States history.
Castro was found in his cell on Tuesday night, said JoEllen Smith, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman. Prison medical staff performed CPR before he was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Castro had been in protective custody because of the notoriety of his case, meaning he was checked every 30 minutes, but he was not on suicide watch, Smith said.
An autopsy showed the death was a suicide, and the cause of death was hanging, said Dr Jan Gorniak, a coroner. She said she couldn't comment on the circumstances in which Castro was found.
At his sentencing, Castro told the judge he was suffering from a pornography addiction.
"I'm not a monster. I'm sick," he said.
The three women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. They escaped from Castro's home on May 6, when Amanda Berry, one of the women, broke part of a door and yelled to neighbours for help.