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US kidnapper who held 3 captive kills self in prison cell

Ariel Castro,53,last month was sentenced to life in prison.

Written by Associated Press | Columbus |
September 5, 2013 12:43:45 am

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 Wednesday.

Ariel Castro,53,last month was sentenced to life in prison. Castro was found Tuesday night,said JoEllen Smith,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. She said suicide watch entails constant observation. While in jail before his conviction,Castro was taken off suicide watch in June after authorities determined he was not a risk.

An autopsy showed the death was a suicide,said Dr. Jan Gorniak,a coroner. She said she couldn’t comment on the circumstances in which Castro was found.

No one answered the door Wednesday morning at the home of Castro’s mother and brother.

The three women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004,when they were 14,16 and 20 years old. They escaped from Castro’s home May 6,when Amanda Berry,one of the women,broke part of a door and yelled to neighbours for help.

Castro’s attorneys had tried unsuccessfully to have a psychological examination of him done at the jail before he was turned over to state authorities following his conviction,his attorney,Jaye Schlachet,said early Wednesday.

The prison where Castro had been placed holds nearly twice as many prisoners as the 900 it was meant to hold,according to state data.

Stress is high and assaults are up at the prison,but Tim Shafer,an official with the prison guards’ union,said: “Just like out in the public,suicides happen,and you just can’t prevent every one of them.’’

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