The Castro family dark side was not taken “seriously” by police, say neighbors. After a naked woman was seen crawling on her hands and knees in Ariel Castro’s backyard, the neighbor called the police but nothing happened. After another neighbor heard pounding on an upper-floor window at Ariel Castro’s house and saw a woman with her baby, she called the police, and again, nothing happened. According to a May 8, 2013, USA Today report, as the “disturbing tale of sexual assault, physical abuse, bondage and other horrors” is emerging and the three captors, 52-year-old Ariel Castro, his 54-year-old brother Pedro, and 50-year-old brother Onil are being interviewed and talking to police, so are the neighbors.
Ariel Castro has lived in the house since 1992, but his two brothers did not live at the house permanently.
While many of Ariel Castro’s neighbors are saying that they were fooled by a man who lived a social life among neighbors outside of his own home, other neighbors are reporting that their reports to police about Ariel Castro were not taken seriously.
One of Ariel Castro’s neighbors, Elsie Cintron, lives three houses away from Ariel Castro. A few years ago, her daughter saw a naked woman crawling on her hands and knees in Castro’s backyard. She says that she called the police “but they didn’t take it seriously.”
Another one of Ariel Castro’s neighbors, Israel Lugo, who lives two doors down from Ariel Castro, called the police in November of 2011 because his sister Annita had heard pounding on the upper-floor window of Ariel Castro’s house. “When Annita Lugo looked up, she saw a woman and a baby at a window half-blocked by a wooden plank.” Israel Lugo called the police, the police came, knocked on the front door of Ariel Castro’s house, but when no one answered, they left.
“They walked to the side of the house and then left,” said Israel Lugo.
In 2012, Israel Lugo’s mother saw Ariel Castro park his school bus in front of his house and take bags filled with McDonald’s fast food into the house. Being suspicious why a man would bring that much food into a house where supposedly no one else was living prompted the neighbor to call the police.
“Police again responded but didn’t enter the home.”
Last Sunday, Israel Lugo saw Ariel Castro with a little girl at a nearby park and Ariel Castro told his neighbor that the little girl was his girlfriend’s daughter. Police now believe that the little girl was Amanda Berry’s six-year-old daughter.
On Tuesday, Ariel Castro and his two brothers were arrested by police after neighbor Charles Ramsey didn’t call the police when Amanda Berry desperately cried for help from the window but he helped her to get out of the house.
This time, police did enter Ariel Castro’s house and found “chains and ropes in the hall,” said Police Chief Michael McGrath on Wednesday.
The “three young women held in captivity for almost a decade in a middle-class neighborhood were bound during their ordeal, apparently by chains and ropes found inside the frame house on Seymour Avenue.” The three women were “very rarely” allowed to be outside, “usually for brief walks in the backyard.”
“The Castro brothers allegedly forced all three women to have sex, resulting in up to five pregnancies, according to a report by Cleveland’s WKYC-TV. The station, quoting unnamed law enforcement sources, reported that the Castros also beat the women while they were pregnant, with several fetuses not surviving. Police did not publicly confirm the report.”
According to USA Today’s report, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said that “we have several unanswered questions. … How were they taken and how they remained undetected in the city of Cleveland for this period of time?”
Evidently, the three women did not remain undetected for the past 10 years because neighbors did report having seen a woman in the backyard and a woman with a baby in the window.
City Safety Director Martin Flask said that investigators had no record of any tips or calls about criminal activity at the house in the years after the victims vanished. However, Cleveland Police Sgt. Sammy Morris confirmed that police had contact with Ariel Castro on two occasions.
“In January 2004, police arrived as part of a child services investigation when Castro — then working as a school bus driver — stranded a boy. They left when no one answered the door. No criminal charges were filed.”
What happened to the calls made by the neighbors about women having been seen and heard in the house?
Following the neighbors’ calls, police did visit the house. But they left because no one answered the door. Were there any reports about those visits?
What makes the case of Ariel Castro’s family dark side even more startling is that this is the second high-profile case in one week where police fail to thoroughly investigate.
According to a KCTV5 May 6, 2013, report, the three bodies of two men and one woman were found on a rural farm in Kansas after friends found a dead body. “The three bodies found on a farm in Kansas were discovered by friends after police failed to recognize that the foul smell in the garage came from three dead bodies. ‘They didn’t find the body. We found the body within five minutes of being in the garage. They didn’t even walk in the garage long enough to look for a body, so we’re a little irritated,’ said Shona Osladil, one of the people who found the three dead bodies.”
In both high-profile cases this week, police are facing questions.