COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Kidnapper Ariel Castro says he called the mother of one of his victims while she was in captivity and told her she was OK, according to a videotaped interrogation. Castro also told investigators that authorities missed opportunities for capturing him.
The kidnapping and repeated rapes of three young women over about a decade shocked Americans when the women escaped from Castro’s home in May. Castro, 53, was a month into his life sentence for the crimes when he killed himself Tuesday
Castro says in the video obtained by NBC and reported Friday that he called the mother of Amanda Berry using Berry’s cellphone.
“I think I said something … that I have her daughter and that she’s OK, and that she’s my wife now 〞 something like that, you know, probably not the exact words,” he told investigators.
When asked for the mother’s response, Castro said, “I hung up, so we didn’t have a conversation.” Berry’s mother died before Berry escaped.
Castro told investigators that video surveillance near the school of victim Gina DeJesus should have tipped police to him. “You could have broke the case right then and there,” he said.
And he said a girlfriend noticed a TV on in a room occupied by victim Michelle Knight and got him worrying he might be caught.
“Was it a close call?” an investigator said.
“Yeah,” he said.
Cleveland police did not respond to requests for comment regarding Castro’s claims about a missed opportunity to catch him after DeJesus disappeared.
A message was left with representatives of the victims Friday morning.
NBC also provided details about a 2004 note Castro wrote that investigators found when they searched the house. “I want to put an end to my life and let the devil deal with me,” a section of the note read.
Two state reviews of Castro’s death are underway, Ohio prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said. One is looking into the suicide, and the other is examining whether Castro received proper medical and mental health care.
A funeral home picked up his body Friday from the Franklin County Coroner’s office on behalf of Castro’s family.
Castro was sentenced Aug. 1 to life in prison plus 1,000 years after pleading guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping and rape, in a deal to avoid the death penalty.
“I’m not a monster. I’m sick,” he told the judge at sentencing.
Castro’s captives 〞 Berry, DeJesus and Knight 〞 disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20. They were rescued from Castro’s run-down house when Berry broke through a screen door.
Investigators said the women were bound, repeatedly raped and deprived of food and bathroom facilities.
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