Cleveland Kidnapper/Rapist Found Dead in Prison Cell

Daniel Doherty

9/4/2013 2:00:00 PM - Daniel Doherty

Cleveland kidnapper and serial rapist Ariel Castro was found dead in his prison cell Tuesday night, according to Vanity Fair. He reportedly committed suicide by hanging himself:

Ariel Castro—the Cleveland man who held three women captive in his house for a decade, and who had been sentenced last month to life in prison—was found dead in his jail cell last night, purportedly having hung himself. Castro, who had been held in a cell by himself at a correctional center in Orient, Ohio, was required to be checked on by a guard every 30 minutes. It is unclear exactly how Castro was able to hang himself, and a review of the incident is underway, the Times reports.

Castro, as the nation learned back in May, had kept three women in a two-room “torture chamber” on the second floor of his house for about ten years, where he had sexually abused them, sometimes chaining them, and fed them just one meal a day. (The three women, all acquaintances of Castro’s kids, had been kidnapped between 2002 and 2004). The women were rescued when one of the three appeared at Castro’s front door screaming that she needed help; neighbors soon showed up, kicked in the front door and called 911.

Castro made a deal with the prosecution in order to avoid the prospect of death row. But now he’s ended his life prematurely on his own terms. Which begs the question: Did Castro escape justice? Some say yes. On the other hand, his victims suffered immensely and one wonders if all three of them would have preferred Mr. Castro to live out the rest of his miserable existence behind bars. Ed Morrissey speculates that, if anything, his death will probably bring the victims closure -- and allow them to put this traumatizing episode behind them. Surely that’s a fair point and Ed might very well be right. But these three women also lost years of their lives when they were abducted. Absent the death penalty, it only seems fair that the perpetrator would be forced to spend the rest of his days in prison contemplating what he did. Now, of course, that will never happen.