COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Newly released reports from prison guards provide more details about the death of Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro, but they offer few additional clues about whether he meant to kill himself or was strangled accidentally while performing a sex act.
The 16 pages released by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction on Tuesday describe how guards found the 53-year-old Castro hanging by a bedsheet attached to the window hinge in his cell on Sept. 3.
Two guards lifted an unresponsive Castro down, and one cut the sheet away from his neck, according to the reports. CPR was performed immediately, and Castro was rushed to a Columbus hospital where he was later pronounced dead, the reports said.
The coroner has called Castro's death a suicide, but an Ohio prisons report released last week suggested he may have died accidentally while performing autoerotic asphyxiation, in which people achieve sexual satisfaction while choking themselves into unconsciousness.
One guard noted that Castro's "shorts were around his ankles" when he was found. The prison's report last week said his pants and underwear were around his ankles.
Castro died just weeks into a life sentence. He pleaded guilty in August to kidnapping three women off the streets, imprisoning them in his home for a decade and repeatedly raping and beating them.
Caleb Ackley, a corrections officer at Correctional Reception Center near Columbus, described in a report how he found Castro hanging from the sheet while conducting a count at 9:20 p.m. Ackley called corrections officer Ryan Murphy, who helped him lift Castro down. Murphy ripped the sheet as he tried to remove it from the window.
"At that time I instructed officer Murphy to bring me the cut-down tool to remove the remainder of the sheet from the inmate's neck," Ackley's report said.
Ackley and Murphy have been placed on paid administrative leave during the state's investigation into Castro's death. The state has alleged the two falsified logs documenting the number of times guards checked Castro before he died.
The union representing prison guards says the state is scapegoating front-line employees for supervisory failures. It has declined to make the guards available for comment during the investigation.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol is conducting its own investigation and also plans a report on Castro's death.