Tuesday, January 16, 2018
News Roundup

DNA confirms Castro is father of girl, 6, freed in Cleveland

CLEVELAND — A DNA test confirmed another dark side of the story of three women imprisoned in a house for about a decade: Kidnapping and rape suspect Ariel Castro is the father of a 6-year-old girl who escaped from the house along with the women, a prosecutor said Friday.

As the investigation into the women's ordeal continued, the FBI also said no human remains were among more than 200 pieces of evidence collected from the house.

Two of the women, including the one who gave birth to the girl, returned to relatives' houses earlier this week. The third woman, Michelle Knight, was released from a hospital Friday with a request that her privacy be respected.

"Michelle Knight is in good spirits and would like the community to know that she is extremely grateful for the outpouring of flowers and gifts," the statement said.

No information would be provided about Knight's next steps, said MetroHealth Medical Center spokeswoman Phyllis Marino.

Castro remained in jail under a suicide watch on $8 million bail while prosecutors weighed what charges they might bring against him, including the possibility of charges carrying a death penalty. He currently is charged with rape and kidnapping.

Castro was represented at Thursday's hearing by public defender Kathleen Demetz, who said she is acting as Castro's adviser if needed until he's appointed a full-time attorney once he's charged by a grand jury. She said Friday she can't speak to his guilt or innocence and said only that she advised him not to give any media interviews that might jeopardize his case.

Family members have portrayed Castro as a "monster" who terrorized the mother of his children, frequently beating her, playing twisted psychological games and locking her indoors.

The stories, repeated in separate interviews by members of Castro's extended family, have surprised people who knew him as a musician who played bass in several bands around Cleveland the last two decades.

The three women said Castro chained them up in the basement but eventually let them live on the home's second floor. Each woman told a similar story about being abducted after accepting a ride from him.

Also Friday, the FBI said publicity surrounding the women's rescue had generated new tips in separate cases involving a 14-year-old girl and 18-year-old woman who disappeared years ago in the same area. FBI spokeswoman Vicki Anderson said the FBI was checking possible leads in the cases of Christina Adkins and Ashley Summers.

Adkins was 18 and pregnant when she was last seen Jan. 10, 1995. Ashley was 14 when last seen July 6, 2007.

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