Convicted Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro was found dead Tuesday inside his cell at the Correction Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, according to corrections officials.
JoEllen Smith of the Ohio Department of Corrections released the following statement:
Inmate Ariel Castro was found hanging in his cell this evening at 9:20 pm at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient. He was housed in protective custody which means he was in a cell by himself and rounds are required every 30 minutes at staggered intervals. Upon finding inmate Castro, prison medical staff began performing life saving measures. Shortly after he was transported to OSUMC where he was pronounced dead at 10:52 pm. A thorough review of this incident is underway and more information can be provided as it becomes available pending the status of the investigation.
Castro hanged himself with a bedsheet, the local coroner’s office told CNN Wednesday.
The 52-year-old had pleaded guilty July 26 to 937 counts, including murder and kidnapping in the abductions of Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus, in a deal with prosecutors that spared him the death penalty.
Two aggravated murder charges stemmed from Castro’s having forcibly ended one victim’s pregnancies after raping her.
Castro was sentenced Aug. 1 to life in prison plus 1,000 years.
The women, who had each been missing for a decade or more, were freed in May after neighbors heard Berry’s cries for help and came to her aid.
Berry called 911.
“Help me, I am Amanda Berry,” she said. “I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for 10 years. And I’m here, I’m free now.”
After Castro’s death was announced, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty made pointed comments.
“These degenerate molesters are cowards,” McGinty told CNN. “This man couldn’t take, for even a month, a small portion of what he had dished out for more than a decade.”
CNN contributed to this report.