Ariel Castro, the convicted kidnapper and rapist who was sentenced early last month to life in prison (plus an additional 1,000 years), was found hanging in his Ohio cell on Tuesday night, according to local authorities. Here’s the official statement from Ohio Department of Corrections spokeswoman JoEllen Smith, via 19 Action News, which was the first to break the news:
Inmate Ariel Castro was found hanging in his cell this evening at 9:20 pm at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient. He was housed in protective custody which means he was in a cell by himself and rounds are required every 30 minutes at staggered intervals.
Upon finding inmate Castro, prison medical staff began performing life saving measures. Shortly after he was transported to OSUMC where he was pronounced dead at 10:52 pm. A thorough review of this incident is underway and more information can be provided as it becomes available pending the status of the investigation.
As that statement suggests, the most obvious question now facing prison officials is how the 53-year-old managed to hang himself while in protective custody.
Castro was sentenced on Aug. 1 after pleading guilty to kidnapping Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight and holding them captive in his Cleveland house for a decade while he assaulted and raped them repeatedly. He pleaded guilty in a deal that spared him the death penalty, which he could have faced under the Ohio law that classifies a forced miscarriage as aggravated murder.
This post has been updated.