Saturday, November 18, 2017
News Roundup

Each kidnapping in Cleveland case began with an offer of a ride home

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CLEVELAND — New details continued to emerge Thursday about the kidnappings, including how the three women were abducted.

In each case, the women accepted Ariel Castro's offer of a ride home while they were walking down the street, according to a police report that included the first statements the women gave after their rescue. The report had a chilling detail: Castro's daughter was a close friend of one of the victims.

Amanda Berry was 17 when she was abducted as she left her job at a Burger King. Castro gained her trust by telling her that his son worked for the fast-food chain and offered her a ride home, according to the police report, which was obtained by the New York Times.

DeJesus, who was only 14 when she disappeared, was friends with Castro's daughter Arlene Castro. Ariel Castro approached her with his daughter on April 2, 2004, according to the account DeJesus gave police. Shortly after, "Ariel came back without his daughter, and told Gina he would give her a ride to his house to meet up with his daughter," the report said.

The accounts by DeJesus and the other women were made immediately after officers freed them from Castro's sealed-up house on Seymour Avenue, as they sat in a police vehicle. Since Castro's arrest, news accounts have focused on the connections between the Castro and DeJesus families, including reports that Castro attended a vigil for the missing girl.

But in a description of DeJesus' disappearance that Arlene Castro gave a year later in 2005, she apparently did not mention that her father spoke with DeJesus that day while she was present.

In an interview with the television show America's Most Wanted, Arlene Castro told of walking from school with her friend Gina. The two girls planned to spend the afternoon at DeJesus' home. Arlene Castro said she borrowed 50 cents from her friend to call and ask for permission from her mother, who did not live with her father. "Mom said no, that I can't go over to her house," she said in the interview. The girls parted. DeJesus disappeared shortly after.

The different accounts seemed to raise an important question: Did the police task force searching for DeJesus ever hear that Ariel Castro might have been one of the last adults to interact with her before she vanished?

Ed Tomba, the deputy police chief in Cleveland, said at a news conference Wednesday that police had never interviewed Castro before his arrest Monday.

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