– Ariel Castro, accused with his brothers of kidnapping and holding three women for a decade, is a local musician, well known in his community as a former school bus driver.
Police had gone to the house at least twice after the women were abducted.
There had been signs that something was amiss inside the faded two-storey house, which was far from isolated and just steps away from a petrol station and Caribbean grocery.
Neighbours said that in recent years a naked woman was seen crawling on her hands and knees in the backyard, and pounding was heard on the doors. Police showed up each time but stayed outside, they said.
Authorities confirmed family services investigators went to the home in January 2004, after all three girls had gone missing, because Ariel Castro had left a child on a school bus.
Investigators knocked on the door but failed to make “any contact with anyone inside that home”, Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson told a news conference.
He said officials had no indication that any of the neighbours, bystanders, witnesses or anyone else has ever called regarding activity that occurred at that house on Seymour Avenue.
At some point officers talked to Ariel Castro and determined there was no criminal intent involving the bus incident, City Safety Director Martin Flask said.
Ariel Castro also called police in the year 2000 to report a fight in the street, authorities said.
Records show he was arrested for domestic violence in 1993, but that a grand jury declined to indict him.
Ariel Castro, 52, owned the home at 2207 Seymour Avenue where the women were found. Records show the house was in foreclosure because he owed thousands in real estate taxes.
Local and federal authorities said they had never stopped investigating the cases.
A six-year-old girl, believed to be the daughter of kidnapped Amanda Berry, was also rescued.
On Monday, while Ariel Castro was out, Ms Berry hailed a neighbour, Charles Ramsey, and convinced him to help her.
Authorities declined to specify what charges the three Castro brothers are likely to face or to detail how they were placed under arrest. Pedro and Onil Castro have addresses elsewhere in Cleveland, police said.
Mr Ramsey told a television reporter he has lived across the street from Ariel Castro’s house for about a year but did not have “a clue that the girl was in that house, or that anybody else was in there” – John Bacon


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

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