Auto-erotic asphyxiation possible in Castro death

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro’s death by hanging in his prison cell may not have been suicide after all, but an attempt to choke himself for a sexual thrill, authorities said Thursday. They also said two guards falsified logs documenting the number of times they checked on Castro before he died.

The report from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction suggests — but does not conclude — that Castro may have died as the result of auto-erotic asphyxiation, whereby individuals achieve sexual satisfaction while choking themselves into unconsciousness.

Castro’s pants and underwear were pulled down to his ankles when he was found Sept. 3 in his cell at a prison reception center south of Columbus, the report said. He had a sheet wrapped around his neck, which was attached to a window hinge, investigators said.

Officials also found a Bible open to John Chapters 2 and 3 and pictures of Castro’s family arranged “in a poster-board fashion,” according to the report.

Those facts were forwarded to the state highway patrol “for consideration of the possibility of auto-erotic asphyxiation,” the report said.

Patrol spokeswoman Lt. Anne Ralston said she could not immediately comment.

The Franklin County coroner classified Castro’s death as a suicide last week.

Castro did not leave a suicide note and “multiple levels of assessment” did not find tendency toward suicide, the report said. A comprehensive mental health evaluation found “no evidence of serious mental illness or indications for suicide precautions were present,” according to the report.

The day he died, he expressed interest in the possibility he would serve his time segregated from the general prison population.

As a result of those facts, no motivation for suicide was found, the state concluded.

In court, Castro blamed his problems on an addiction to pornography. At his August sentencing, he described himself as a sex addict.

“These people are trying to paint me as a monster,” he said. “I’m not a monster. I’m sick.”

A 2004 note by Castro that authorities discovered when searching his house in May alluded to him taking his life in the future.

Surveillance video indicates guards did not do at least eight required checks on Castro the afternoon and evening before he died. Two checks were done properly just before Castro hanged himself.

Similar allegations of falsified logs have been made against two other guards in the Aug. 4 suicide of a death row inmate just days before his scheduled execution.

The Castro report also said an ambulance contracted to provide medical assistance at the prison was significantly late in arriving, but the delay likely didn’t affect the outcome.

The report also said staff failed to make sure Castro watched a suicide prevention video when he first arrived in August.

Castro, 53, was a few weeks into a life sentence after pleading guilty in August to kidnapping three women from the streets of Cleveland, then imprisoning them in his home for a decade during which time he repeatedly raped and beat them. He was accused of limiting their access to food and toilet facilities and chaining them at times to a pole in the basement. Rescued with the three women in May was a 6-year-old girl Castro fathered with one of the victims.

More in Local News

Designed for special emergencies, texting 911 widely misused

The majority of texts dispatchers receive are better handled by calling, a SNOPAC official says.

Signs show the rates for using the express toll lanes for traffic headed southbound on Interstate 405, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Bothell, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee announced plans Tuesday to try to decrease congestion on I-405 in answer to commuter complaints that the new express lane tolling system is making traffic worse. The governor said he would not be shutting down the tolling system as some people have called for. But the state transportation department is making plans to add new northbound general purpose lanes to ease some of the congestion and also plan to make it easier to move into and out of the express lanes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
After a 2-year trial, are I-405’s toll lanes here to stay?

Lawmakers will decide whether to keep them or end the experiment and try something else.

Weary drivers using toll lanes say they have little choice

Congestion continues to be a tedious reality for commuters on I-405, which is as clogged as ever.

Arlington woman dies 4 days after Marysville crash

She was on the northbound onramp from Fourth Street to I-5 when her pickup hit a tree and fence.

Council passes six-month moratorium on safe injection sites

Proposal by County Councilman Nate Nehring passed unanimously.

Terrace woman held following collision in Everett

The three occupants in vehicle were transported to a local hospital in serious condition.

Information sought on drive-by shooting in Everett

Debris from an apparent crash, evidence of gunfire found in the 2800 block of California Street.

Longboarders from near and far hit the trail in Arlington

The Centennial Sk8 Festival was serious competition for some and just for fun for others.

Everett’s lawsuit against maker of OxyContin can proceed

Purdue Pharma says it’s not liable for the impacts of opioid addiction and wanted the case tossed.

Most Read