Ariel Castro confirmed as father of captive girl

Ariel Castro confirmed as father of captive girl

Alleged kidnapper Ariel Castro is the father of a six-year-old girl rescued from his house with three women this week, an official says.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office confirmed Castro’s paternity in a news release.

Mr DeWine says a sample of Castro’s DNA was taken and forensic scientists worked through the night on the case.

The girl is the daughter of Amanda Berry, who authorities say was held for about a decade in Castro’s house in Cleveland with Gina Dejesus and Michelle Knight.

Castro is being held on $8m bail charged with rape and kidnapping.

Police said Castro impregnated another captive at least five times and made her miscarry by starving her and punching her in the belly.

The allegations were made in a police report that also said Amanda Berry was forced to give birth in a plastic children’s pool.

Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said his office would decide whether to bring aggravated murder charges punishable by death in connection with the pregnancies that were terminated by force.

“Capital punishment must be reserved for those crimes that are truly the worst examples of human conduct,” he said.

“The reality is we still have brutal criminals in our midst who have no respect for the rule of law or human life.”

Castro, 52, a former school bus driver, is under suicide watch in jail, where he is charged with rape and kidnapping.

Mr McGinty said Castro would be charged for every act of sexual violence, assault and other crimes committed against the women, suggesting the counts could number in the hundreds, if not thousands.

Among the chilling details in the police report are:

:: Ms Berry, now 27, told officers that she was forced to give birth in a plastic pool in the house in Cleveland so it would be easier to clean up. She said she, her baby, now six, and the two other rescued women had never been to a doctor during their captivity;

:: Michelle Knight, now 32, said her five pregnancies ended after Castro starved her for at least two weeks and “repeatedly punched her in the stomach until she miscarried”.

She also said Castro forced her to deliver Ms Berry’s baby under threat of death if the baby died. Ms Knight said that when the newborn stopped breathing, she revived her through mouth-to-mouth resuscitation;

:: All three women said Castro chained them up in the basement but eventually let them live on the home’s second floor. Each woman told a similar story about being abducted after accepting a ride from Castro.

During his brief court appearance yesterday, Castro tried to hide his face, tucking his chin inside his shirt collar. He appeared to close his eyes during the hearing and awkwardly signed documents while handcuffed. He did not speak or enter a plea.

In court, prosecutor Brian Murphy said Castro used the women “in whatever self-gratifying, self-serving way he saw fit”.

Castro was arrested on Monday, when Ms Berry broke out of his rundown house and called police while he was away. Police found the two other women inside. The women had vanished separately between 2002 and 2004, when they 14, 16 and 20.

Ms Berry and former captive Gina DeJesus, 22, went home with relatives on Wednesday. Ms Knight was reported to be in good condition at a Cleveland hospital.

The police report gave a detailed account of their escape, beginning with Ms Berry’s discovery that a door was unlocked, leaving only a bolted outer door between her and freedom.

Castro’s two brothers, who were arrested with him but later cleared of involvement in the case, appeared in court on unrelated charges yesterday and were released.

It emerged that years before the women’s abductions and abuse, Castro terrorised the mother of his children, beating her and locking her indoors.

Relatives of Grimilda Figueroa, who left Castro many years ago and died after a long illness last year, described him as a “monster”.

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