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Cleveland Kidnapper's Death Was Suicide, Experts Say

Ariel Castro in court on July 17.
Marvin Fong
The Plain Dealer/Landov
Ariel Castro in court on July 17.

Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro committed suicide by hanging himself, two independent corrections consultants said in a report released on Tuesday.

Before this report was released, a review by a state prisons agency had suggested that Castro died in September while performing autoerotic asphyxiation. That is likely not the case, Lindsay M. Hayes and Fred Cohen, who were hired by Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, found.

The AP reports:

"The report said all available evidence pointed to suicide, including a shrine-like arrangement of family pictures and a Bible in Castro's cell, an increasing tone of frustration in his prison journal and the reality of spending the rest of his life in prison while subject to constant harassment.

"Subsequent reviews by the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Franklin County coroner reached the same conclusion, the report said.

"'In conclusion, based upon the fact that this inmate was going to remain in prison for the rest of his natural life under the probability of continued perceived harassment and threats to his safety, his death was not predictable on September 3, 2013, but his suicide was not surprising and perhaps inevitable,' the report said."

The Columbus Dispatch reports that while Castro was found with his pants down, it was not unusual that Castro was in his cell naked.

He had to be "warned several times to wear clothes in his cell when female correctional officers were present," the paper reports. It adds:

"The report says Castro was interviewed by a prison 'Protective Control Committee' on the morning he committed suicide, but did not give any signals he planned to kill himself. He was founded hanging from a bed sheet attached to a window frame in his cell at 9:18 p.m. on Sept. 3.

"Although a prior investigation found that guards falsified logs regarding when they observed Castro, the report indicates he was seen just 26 minutes before he was found hanging in his cell."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.