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Ariel Castro charged with kidnap, rape

09 May 2013, 09:02

Cleveland - A 52-year-old US man has been charged with kidnapping and rape in connection with the abduction in Cleveland of three women who went missing a decade ago, a city prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Ariel Castro is accused of raping Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight during their time in captivity in his home, city prosecutor Victor Perez told reporters.

Castro faces four counts of kidnapping, related to DeJesus, Knight, Berry and Berry's six-year-old daughter, who was born in captivity. The rape charges do not relate to the child.

Castro's two brothers - Pedro, 54, and Onil, 50 - were also arrested on Monday, but will not be charged.

"There is nothing that leads us to believe that they were involved or had any knowledge of this," deputy city police chief Ed Tomba said of the brothers.

"We found no facts to link them to the crime."

The three women and the child were rescued on Monday in a dramatic turn of events after Berry, now 27, signalled a neighbour who helped her escape from the modest home on Seymour Avenue in a working-class neighbourhood of Cleveland.

Earlier, Cleveland police chief Michael McGrath told NBC television: "We have confirmation they were bound and there were chains and ropes in the hall."

He said that until interviews with the victims are complete it will not be possible to describe in detail how they were treated, and said he could not confirm reports that the captives had had multiple pregnancies.

McGrath said the captives had been allowed outside "very rarely".

DeJesus is now 23, and Knight is 32.



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