Ariel Castro kidnappings: The true story behind the horrific ordeals

Ariel Castro kidnappings: The true story behind the horrific ordeals

The Ariel Castro kidnappings that rocked Cleveland, Ohio, in the early 2000s were some of the most cringing acts carried out by a single person. The individual behind these abductions was a school bus driver for about 22 years. In that period, he had three teenage girls locked up in his basement against their will.

Ariel Castro kidnappings
Ariel Castro is seen in a booking photo in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo: Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office
Source: Getty Images

The Cleveland abduction remained unresolved for over a decade until 2013. This was after one of the abducted ladies summoned the courage to scream for help through a door that the abductor erroneously left open. The police rescued the ladies on 13th May 2013, and the stories they told the press about their experiences shook the United States of America media.

Who is Ariel Castro?

Ariel was born on 10th July 1960 in Duey, Yauco, Puerto Rico, to Lillian Rodriguez and Pedro Castro. His mother moved to the United States of America with him and his three siblings. They lived in Pennsylvania for a while before settling in Cleveland, Ohio.

Read also

Ghanaian man returns from US after 13 years, weeps as relatives give him nice welcome at airport

The kidnapper attended Lincoln-West High School and graduated in 1979. His life revolved around Cleveland, Ohio, and it also gave him his future wife, Grimilda Figueroa, who mothered his four children: Arlene, Emily, Angie, and Anthony. He used his victim's relationship with some of his children as a luring strategy.

The kidnappings were named after Ariel Castro, the sole orchestrator and executor of the abductions. During his trial, he referred to himself as cold-blooded and a victim of s*xual abuse.

How many people did Ariel Castro kidnap?

The serial kidnapper abducted three girls between 2002 and 2004. Nevertheless, it was later discovered during his trial that he was a s*xual addict who fantasized about sleeping with teenage girls. Below are the individual stories of his victims.

Michelle Knight

The first of Ariel Castro's victims was a 21-year-old lady named Michelle Knight, and it all started on 23rd August 2002. She went missing when she was supposed to appear in a child custody court case for her biological son, Joey, who was with the state at the time.

Read also

Brave couple sustain injuries after wrestling with a lion, video gets many emotional

Authorities did not take her disappearance seriously because she was an adult. They believed she was frustrated about the possibility of losing custody of her child in a legal battle with the state. The conclusion was that she had voluntarily gone missing.

What was Ariel Castro diagnosed with?
Ariel Castro (L) talks with his lawyer during a break in his trial in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo: Angelo Merendino
Source: Getty Images

However, the truth was that Michelle was determined to have her son back and asked for a description of the social service address when Ariel volunteered that he knew where it was and disingenuously offered to give her a ride there.

He used the fact that Michelle was friends with one of his daughters to put her at ease and invited her to come inside when he pulled over at his house to feed his dogs. Michelle went in and would only regain her freedom 11 years later.

Michelle claimed she was tortured s*xually, physically, and emotionally throughout her ordeal. She said he impregnated her at least five times but never delivered any of them because Ariel would hit her until she miscarried.

Read also

Handsome Father Of 3 Decries Rejection by Women Over Good Looks, Unleashes Sweet Photos

Amanda Berry

Amanda was the second of Ariel's victims, and she was abducted on 21st April 2003, a day before she was supposed to celebrate her 17th birthday. She spoke with her sister last before her abduction. According to reports, Amanda told her around 8 pm that she was getting on a ride home from Burger King, where she worked.

Like Michelle, the authorities thought Amanda was another runaway even though the mother insisted that her daughter would never do that. The story garnered some seriousness after the mother received a call from an unidentified caller who reportedly said,

I have Amanda. She's fine and will be coming home in a couple of days.

The truth about Amanda's abduction is that Ariel had offered to take her home while she was walking home. And since she was friends with his daughter, she obliged when he asked if he wanted to see the latter.

Read also

Matilda Amissah-Arthur, attacked by assailant at Tesano home, lost thousands of dollars

She never got out or saw his daughter after stepping into Ariel's home. From that night onwards until her rescue about a decade later, Amanda faced all sorts of unspeakable cruelty at the hands of her abductor.

Gina DeJesus

Fast forward to 2nd April 2004, Ariel went on another kidnapping operation and came home with a 14-year-old girl named Gina DeJesus. Like all his victims, Gina was friends with one of Ariel's daughters and was abducted after school.

The next nine years were hectic for Gina, and she endured several waves of abuse that she was uncomfortable discussing with the public after her release.

How did the Cleveland girls escape?

The silver lining for the abducted girls shone brightly on 6th May 2013 after Amanda Berry noticed that one of the big doors to the basement was unusually unlocked. She did not try to open it but instead screamed for help. Fortunately, a neighbour was around.

Read also

Ras Nene speaks on the kindness of the late Dr Grace Boadu, says he will miss her

cleveland's abduction
Ariel Castro appears for his initial court appearance in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo: John Gress/Corbis
Source: Getty Images

Angel Cordero and Charles Ramsey forcefully opened a hole through the door to rescue Amanda and her daughter. She was able to call 911 with her rescuers' help. In a few hours, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus joined Amanda and six year-old Jocelyn in freedom.

How did Ariel Castro get caught?

Ariel Castro was arrested on 6th May 2013 and was charged with multiple counts of r*pe, kidnapping, aggravated murder, and possession of criminal tools. He was eventually found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment and 1,000 years in jail with no chance of parole.

Ariel Castro's kidnappings movie

The Cleveland Abductions have been adapted into movies and documentaries like the Cleveland Abduction (2015 ) and The Cleveland Kidnappings (2021).


  1. Who did Ariel Castro have a baby with? Amanda Berry became a mother on Christmas day in 2006 while still in captivity after her abductor impregnated her. He had consistently slept with her against her will. The girl was named Jocelyn, and according to Mandy, the father-daughter duo loved each other.
  2. How long did Ariel Castro kidnap? He kidnapped the girls between 2002 and 2004 and held them captive until 2013, when one of them found a loophole in his scheming.
  3. Where is Amanda Berry now? Now around 37 years old, Amanda is a television presenter and has written a book about her ordeal. She also partners with the necessary authorities and institutions to find missing people. US Marshal Pete Elliot lauded the author in 2020 for her effort during Operation Safety Net, which located 35 kids.
  4. How did Ariel Castro kidnap his victims? He abducted his victims by proposing to give them a ride and deceiving them into making a detour to his home, where they were forced to live in inhumane conditions.
  5. What happened to Ariel Castro? He pleaded guilty to his charges and was sentenced to life imprisonment. He, however, committed su*cide about a month into his incarceration.
  6. What happened to Ariel Castro's daughter Emily? Emily is serving a 25-year sentence in prison in Indiana for attempting to murder her baby.

Read also

Embarrassing video of Dr Grace Boadu's 'pastor boyfriend' getting sacked from her family house pops up

The Ariel Castro kidnappings were initially taken for granted until a mystery caller claimed to have the second missing girl. Luckily, the victims are alive and coping with the trauma caused by their abductor.

Ghana's entertainment industry has produced several great actors and actresses. As published on, Kumawood, a branch of Ghana's movie entertainment industry, has some of the richest actors.

Who are the richest Kumawood actors, and how much have they made? Also, how did they start? Check out the post to find out more.

Subscribe to watch new videos


Online view pixel