Some houses on the block tell a whole history from the first look. You can drive down a town road and see who has lived in what place, what they do, and how they keep it if you look hard enough.

Sometimes you might be surprised by the residents. Some forgotten, broken homes might have pleasant, friendly owners. Some houses, however, are places of evil.

Ariel Castro, a man who lived in the Tremont neighborhood, part of Cleveland, Ohio, lived in a house that was suspicious on sight.

There were heavy bolts on the front doors, which stayed locked at all times, and the tenant rarely left.

He only did so when his house was completely secure, but it was an inadequate and ineffectual place.

He wasn’t keeping people out. He was keeping three women in, for over ten years, against their will.

10 /10 Predictable Start

Ariel Castro had a rough, but not wholly detrimental, childhood. He was born in Puerto Rico and immigrated with his mother after his parents were divorced.

He met his future wife Grimelda Figueroa shortly after graduating high school, and they moved in together almost immediately. Trouble started and persisted for a long time.

Castro would beat Figueroa badly, breaking her bones and causing a blood clot that later became a lethal tumor.

They had four children through it all, and when she left, she retained full custody of them, much to his engagement.

REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

9 /10 The Cleveland Kidnapper

Castro started kidnapping women in August of 2002 and persisted for the next two years.

He captured three women on similar grounds of finding them vulnerable and in need of a ride. There was no pre-emptive or motive aside from doing it.

One day, out of nowhere, after a life of being an abuser and a friend, he just snapped in a whole new way and took women to his home, where he locked them away under the prospect that they would never see the outside again.


8 /10 Michelle Knight

The first victim was Michelle Knight. She was 21 when Ariel picked her up after leaving her cousin’s home.

She had a court appointment that day to fight for custody of her son Joey, who she had when she was too young to bear moral responsibility from the state.

Her disappearance was not widely known or sought because she was a missing adult. Authorities assumed she did something desperate over her son’s case and even removed her from a search list in the FBI.


7 /10 Amanda Berry

The second kidnapping was far more substantial. Amanda Berry was taken in April of 2003, the day before she turned 17.

She left her job at Burger King and accepted a kindly Castro ride, who instead brought her to his home. She was considered a runaway at first.

Her cell phone was used to make a call, possibly by Castro, who went unidentified, stating that she would be back in a couple of days. She spent the next ten years in his grasp.


6 /10 Gina DeJesus

The last girl Castro abducted with Gina DeJesus, who was 14 at the time. She was also friends with Castro’s daughter, Arlene, which meant that she already knew him.

She went missing in April of 2004, a year after Amanda was gone when the search and speculation started to heat up.

Despite being a minor, she was not witnessed being abducted, and an AMBER Alert was not issued immediately.

5 /10 Life In Hell

While in Castro’s home, the women were subjected to horrific violence and abuse. Castro raped them all and frequently beat them.

He would torture them mentally, depriving them of food or light for days at a time, kept them in squalid conditions, and even tested them by leaving particular doors open so he could catch them in the act of fleeing to punish them.

He also forced miscarriages with Knight by brutally harming her, throwing her against walls, and hitting her with dumbbells.

The girls were initially kept in the extended basement but were moved to the second story bedrooms later and were kept in chains attached to the walls.

Randy Miramontez /

4 /10 Castro's Second Face

Outside of his home, Castro was an ordinary member of the community. He was a bus driver for a while until lazy habits, and unsafe decisions got him fired.

When the search began to intensify around 2004 for the missing girls, his son Anthony started to investigating as a journalist and asked around about DeJesus.

When the affected families held search parties and vigils for their lost ones, Castro kept all eyes away from his house.

Famous psychic Sylvia Browne even declared Amanda dead as far back as 2004 on national television when her mother asked for hope.

3 /10 The Miracle Child

After such a long time, for some reason, Castro allowed Amanda to carry a baby to term. He even threatened DeJesus with death if she couldn’t perform as a midwife properly.

The child was born and lived in Castro’s house for six years. He did not abuse her in any way. As long as she didn’t leave without him, he gave her free reign of the house and treated her like a daughter.

He introduced her both as a daughter from another relationship or as a granddaughter to those he met, and no one suspected a thing.

2 /10 Free At Last

In May of 2013, the daughter reported to her mother that Castro was gone and that her room’s main door was unlocked. She checked more than once and confirmed that the way out was clear. Amanda hardly believed it.

They had been tested before. She was too afraid to leave but saw a neighbor and called them for help.

The neighbor helped her out of the house by kicking out part of the door, and the rest of the girls followed, finally free to call the police and return to the outside world.

dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

1 /10 The Door Closes

Castro was apprehended and confessed to over 900 charges of crimes, detailed what he did in an FBI interview, and was sentenced to multiple life sentences without parole in court.

Just a month later, while in prison, he hung himself. Authorities found suicide notes in his home indicating he never planned to outlive his crimes that he would get caught sooner or later, and when he did, he wanted his victims to obtain everything he had.

The victims have been well ever since, and the house of evil was demolished immediately after the final hearing.

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