Authorities in Ohio said Wednesday that they had begun two separate investigations into the apparent suicide of Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man sentenced to life in prison for holding three women captive in his home for a decade.
Castro, 53, hanged himself with a bedsheet Tuesday night in his cell at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, near Columbus, officials said. He was being held there temporarily after a Cuyahoga County judge sentenced him to life in prison last month.
Jan M. Gorniak, the coroner of Franklin County, said an autopsy had determined that Castro's death was a suicide. The determination prompted Castro's lawyers to call for an investigation related to the level of care and supervision provided to Castro. They said he had a history of psychological problems, including suicidal thoughts, before being transferred to the state facility from a county jail in Cleveland.
"Mr. Castro's psychological history reflected depression and suicidal tendencies, which is why the county jail placed him on suicide watch," said Craig T. Weintraub, one of Castro's lawyers. "Typically, any time someone is sentenced to prison, there is profound depression, especially if it is a life sentence without the possibility of parole."
Late Wednesday, Ohio prison officials said they had begun a review of Castro's death. A separate investigation will be conducted by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Castro was arrested in May after three frightened and dazed women escaped from his home in west Cleveland.
Representatives for the women said Wednesday that they had no immediate comment. But Frank G. Jackson, Cleveland's mayor, released a statement saying that the city's "focus remains on the well-being of the survivors."
"It is our sincere hope that they will continue to heal and recover," he said. "I ask the community to continue to respect the privacy of the survivors so that they can move forward with their lives."