(CNN) — Ariel Castro‘s brothers no longer refer to him as kin. Instead, they call him “a monster” who should rot in jail after being accused of kidnapping and holding three young women hostage in his home for a decade.
“I had nothing to do with this, and I don’t know how my brother got away with it for so many years,” Pedro Castro, 54, said when he and brother Onil Castro, 50, sat down for an exclusive interview with CNN’s Martin Savidge this weekend.
When the story first broke, the world saw all three brothers as suspects after Cleveland police arrested them last Monday and released their mugshots. It was not until Thursday that Pedro and Onil Castro were freed and investigators said the brothers had no involvement in the kidnappings.
Residents gather outside a community meeting at Immanuel Lutheran Church on Thursday, May 9, to talk about the kidnapping case in Cleveland. Balloons were released as part of the ceremony. Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight escaped on Monday, May 6, after being held captive for nearly a decade.
FBI agents and other law enforcement officers stand outside suspect Ariel Castro’s home in Cleveland on May 9. Castro, a former school bus driver, has been accused of holding three women captive for a decade in his house. He has also been charged with rape.
Castro hangs his head low while talking with his public defender, Kathleen DeMetz, during his arraignment on May 9.
Ada Colon prays during a vigil held in honor of the kidnapping victims in Cleveland on Wednesday, May 8.
Relatives of kidnapping victim Georgina “Gina” DeJesus hug after she returned to her parents’ home in Cleveland on May 8.
Friends and neighbors cheer as a car carrying Amanda Berry arrives at her sister’s house in Cleveland on May 8.
Gina DeJesus gives a thumbs up as she arrives at her family’s house in Cleveland on May 8.
Ariel Castro was charged on May 8 with kidnapping the three women.
The family house of Gina DeJesus has been decorated by well-wishers on Tuesday, May 7.
Friends and relatives gather in front of the family house of DeJesus on May 7.
Well-wishers visit the home of the sister of Amanda Berry on Monday, May 6.
Investigators remove evidence from the house on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland where the three women were held.
An FBI forensics team meets outside the house where three women were held as they investigate the property.
An FBI forensics team member removes evidence from the house.
A relative of DeJesus brings balloons to the home of Amanda Berry’s sister in Cleveland on May 7.
Children hold a sign and balloons in the yard of Gina DeJesus’ family home in Cleveland on May 7.
Bystanders and media gather on May 7 along Seymour Avenue in Cleveland near the house where the three women were held captive.
A bystander shows the front page of The Plain Dealer newspaper to a friend outside of the house on Seymour Avenue on May 7.
Cleveland Deputy Chief of Police Ed Tomba, center, speaks at a news conference to address details of the developments.
The house where the three women were held captive in Cleveland was the home of Ariel Castro, who was arrested and is being held pending charges in the case.
FBI agents remove evidence from the house May 7.
A police officer stands in front of the broken front door of the house on May 7, where the kidnapped women escaped.
Neighbor Charles Ramsey talks to media as people congratulate him on helping the kidnapped women escape on Monday, May 6. He helped knock down the door after he heard screaming inside.
Amanda Berry vanished a few blocks from her Cleveland home on April 21, 2003. She was 16.
Georgina “Gina” DeJesus was last seen in Cleveland on April 2, 2004, on her way home from school. She was 14 when she went missing.
Michelle Knight was last seen on August 22, 2002, when she was 21.
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Brother: ‘I am a walking corpse’
New video of kidnap rescue in Cleveland
Who is Ariel Castro?
Ariel Castro, a 52-year-old former school bus driver, remains in a Cleveland jail on $8 million bond. He’s charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.
He’s accused of abducting Michelle Knight, now 32, in August 2002 when she was 21; Amanda Berry, now 27, a day before her 17th birthday in April 2003; and Gina DeJesus, now 23, in April 2004, when she was 14. DNA tests revealed a daughter born to Berry six years ago was fathered by Castro.
Snapshots: Who are Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus?
“The horrific brutality and torture that the victims endured for a decade is beyond comprehension,” prosecutor Timothy McGinty said.
Pedro and Onil, who have received death threats since their arrest, spoke to CNN because they “want the world to know” they had no idea their brother was keeping the women captive in his Cleveland home all those years.
How this horrific story unfolded from the start
‘Who did I kidnap?‘
The first sign of trouble for Onil came last Monday night as he was riding with his brother after dinner at their mother’s home. Ariel suddenly turned into a McDonald’s parking lot. A police cruiser pulled his car over.
“I said, ‘What did you do, run a stop sign or a red light or something?’” he said. “He says, ‘No, no. I don’t know.’”
When Onil asked the police officer about why they were pulled over, he said, “All I can tell you is that you’re in for some serious allegations.”
“Maybe he wanted to get caught,” Onil later speculated. “Maybe time was up. Maybe he was inside too much; he wanted to get caught. But if he did it that way, he shouldn’t of went to mama’s house and picked me up and put me in a car, if he knows that was going to happen.”
Pedro was asleep at home when police woke him up.
“I was thinking because I had an open container warrant,” he said. “So, I didn’t, I didn’t know what — I thought they was taking me in because of that.”
The brothers were held in separate cells at the jail. It would be more than 36 hours before Pedro and Onil learned the real reason they had been taken into custody.
After helping a correctional officer interpret for another Spanish-speaking inmate, Pedro asked for more details about his own case. The officer wrote the word kidnapping on a piece of paper.
“I didn’t have my reading glasses, I looked and I said, ‘Oh, open containers.’ She said ‘No, read it again.’ And I said ‘Oh! Kidnapping! What’s this? Kidnapping?’” he said. “I’m thinking kidnapping. Who did I kidnap?”
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Onil, in a separate cell and still unaware of the gruesome details, was able to see his brother Ariel briefly when Ariel walked by on the way to the toilet, he said.
“When he walked past me, he goes, ‘Onil, you’re never going to see me again. I love you bro.’ And that was it,” he said. ”And he put his fist up for a bump.”
Ariel spoke again as Onil was on his way to be questioned by a detective, he said.
“He goes ‘Onil, I’m sorry. You didn’t know nothing about this, Onil. I’m sorry, Onil.’ And that was it. And then that’s when I broke down on my way over there. I said, ‘What did my brother do? What did he do?’”
Minutes later in an interrogation room, Onil got his answer from a detective, and it floored him.
“When he showed me the pictures of the girls, he asked me: ‘Do you know these girls?’” Onil said.
“He says ‘Have you ever seen this girl?’ and I said ‘No, I’ve never seen that girl.’ And then he showed me the other one. ‘Have you ever seen this girl?’ and I said ‘No, I’ve never seen that girl.’ And he says ‘That’s Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry,’ and my heart fell. I just dropped, not physically, but I just, I just hit the ground.”
He was familiar with DeJesus and Berry since their photos were posted throughout his community after their disappearances. “I told him ‘They don’t look like the girls who have been pinned up and posted up” and he said ‘Yeah, that’s how malnourished they are.’”
“Oh, it was just heart-dropping,” Onil said. “Just terrible when they said that, when he said that, ‘It’s Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, and they were in your brother’s house.’ I just couldn’t believe it because, you know, there was no signs of anything like that. I’ve seen no signs.”
Pedro’s interrogation followed the same course.
“The detective said, ‘Well, these three girls are in your brother’s house.’ And I just, what, say that again. ‘These three girls are in your brother’s house.’ ‘What do you mean in my brother’s house?’ ‘He kept them captive.’ ‘You mean, they’re alive and in my brother’s house?’ ‘Yes.’”
Opinion: Missing persons could be just next door
Deborah Knight, the grandmother of kidnapping victim Michelle Knight, participates in a community balloon-release service in Michelle’s honor on Thursday, May 9, in Cleveland. Four females were found in a home on Seymour Avenue in the Clark Fulton neighborhood on Monday. Since then, the neighborhood and the nation have wondered how they were held captive without anyone noticing sooner.
Authorities say Ariel Castro held three women — Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. DNA tests confirmed that he fathered a girl born to Berry, who was among those rescued, the Ohio attorney general’s office said Friday. His house, third from left, is now a crime scene.
57-year-old Ronice Dunn moved into the neighborhood in 1984. For years after Berry and DeJesus disappeared, she joined in neighborhood vigils and prayer groups for their safe return.
A building sits boarded up on Seymour Avenue. The Clark Fulton neighborhood is beset by nearly double-digit unemployment, and one in every five houses is in foreclosure.
The media set up tents near Castro’s home.
Kinkel Avenue is a few blocks from Castro’s home.
The house of Onil Castro’s two sons, where he was staying when he was arrested on Kinkel Avenue. He and his brother Pedro were arrested along with Ariel Castro, but later were released and not charged.
“Why didn’t I notice anything? What should I have been looking for?” asked Mickie Wodgik, who spent years living across the street from Castro and, it turns out, the three missing women.
Around the corner from Seymour Avenue, graffiti is written on an abandoned building.
A street view shows West 25th Street, which runs perpendicular to Seymour Avenue.
Cynthia Conor, who has lived in the same house for 38 years, often drank with Castro and and his brother Pedro, she said. Her father trained Castro for his school bus job.
A man stands on Clark Avenue in front of painted buildings.
This boarded-up building sits across the street from Castro’s house.
Pastor Joe Abraham has ministered to many in this neighborhood for more than 25 years, including as the leader of Scranton Road Bible Church.
People hold balloons during a community balloon-release service in kidnapping victim Michelle Knight’s honor.
The Clark Fulton neighborhood
Never past the kitchen
They were not allowed past the kitchen of his house in the past 10 years.
“I didn’t go to his house very much, but when I did, he would let me in not past the kitchen,” Pedro said. “The reason why we would go in the kitchen, because he had alcohol. And he would take me in the kitchen, give me a shot.”
His brother would cook for him sometimes, “but I would eat out on the steps,” he said.
Curtains blocked the kitchen from the rest of the 1,400-square-foot house. Ariel explained it away as an energy-saving setup, Pedro said.
Cleveland neighborhood asks: How did it happen here?
“He said he wanted to keep the heat in the kitchen because the gas bill,” Pedro said.
His brother’s home was also always filled with background noise whenever he visited, he said. He couldn’t hear what was happening in other rooms because “the radio was playing all of the time,” he said. “If not the radio, the TV. Something had to be on at all time in the kitchen. So, I couldn’t hear nothing else, but the radio or the TV.”
When asked whether that ever raised any questions for him, Pedro explained that his brother often did “strange” things.
“No, because Ariel, to me, he was a strange dude,” he said. “I mean, it didn’t faze me none because when he said keep the heat because he gets cold real quickly. He’s always wearing a lot of coats and stuff, so I figured well, he wants to keep the heat in.”
Onil said he saw “absolutely nothing” unusual in his brother’s backyard, and he hadn’t been inside the house in years. “The last time that I was in that house, it was in the kitchen.”
Ariel was “a little apart” from the rest of the family and “strange to me all through our lives,” he said.
“He always stayed to himself with his music,” he said. ”And like I said, there would be times when we wouldn’t see him for a month, two weeks. Mama use to say ‘Check your brother, check on your brother. He lives alone in that house. He’s a loner. You don’t know if he’s OK or what’s going on.’ So I would text him and he would text me back. ‘What are you doing?’ ‘I’m fine.’”
One of Ariel’s daughters gave CNN a similar description, saying when she visited her father “he would take forever to come to the door.” He would not let her in through the front of the house, Angie Gregg said.
Abused but alive: Lessons from survivors
The secret daughter
The child who investigators say Ariel Castro fathered with Berry was allowed to venture outside of the house at times, while the women stayed locked in the house. “I seen Ariel with a little girl at McDonald’s and I asked him who’s that,” Pedro said. “And he said ‘This is a girlfriend’s of mine.’”
He saw the child again with his brother weeks later at a Burger King, he said.
“And then I questioned him, where’s the mother” ‘Oh, she had to do something.’ So, I just let it go.”
“I had no idea that, that little girl was his or Amanda’s” he said. “I had no clue. That I learned this as the days go by, you know, after we got caught.”
Gregg said her father showed her a photo of the girl in his cell phone about two months ago, telling her it was his girlfriend’s child by somebody else.
“I figured at the most he had an illegitimate child out there, you know, and I would find out eventually,” Gregg said.
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Hostage’s dad was a friend
Pedro and Onil now wonder how their brother could have interacted with the family of one of his hostages. They all knew Felix DeJesus, the father of the 14-year-old kidnapped on the way home from school nine years ago.
“I would ask him, ‘Felix, no sign of her yet, no sign of her yet? — not knowing that this monster had these young women in his house,” Onil said.
“I would shake his hand and tell him ‘Man, I’m sorry. Have you heard anything?’ and ‘Let’s just hang in there, brother,’” Pedro said.
Ariel attended a vigil for the teen after she went missing and gave her “mama a hug,” he said.
“I don’t know how he did it,” Onil said. “I’m sure he would talk to Felix, too, while his daughter was missing and played it off so good.”
“Felix, I know that you are out there listening, and you know that I was concerned about your daughter and I had not even the slightest idea that this would be going on with,” he said.
Neighbor Angel Cordero played key role in women’s escape
Brothers: If we had known ...
The brothers agreed on what they would’ve done if they had discovered the captives.
“I would have went straight to the police if I seen anything,” Onil said. “If I seen a curtain move or if I heard anything because there’s nobody there inside that house. Why do, why am I seeing this? Who is that? I would have said something.”
“If I knew, I would have reported it,” Pedro said. “Brother or no brother.” He would’ve “grabbed him by the neck” and asked “What’s up with this man?” he said.
“Yes, I would have grabbed him by my neck myself,” Onil said.
Onil considers Ariel to be a “monster,” not a brother. “The monster is a goner,” he said.
“I hope he rots in that jail,” he said. “I don’t even want them to take his life like that. I want him to suffer in that jail to the last extent. I don’t care if they even feed him. What he has done to my life and my family’s.”
“I feel the same way,” Pedro said. “I loved him so much. I loved him so much. As a matter of fact, the second time I seen him going in to use the toilet, when he finished, I was by the rails and he said ‘I love you’ and we, you know, we touched fists.”
‘I am a walking corpse’
Onil’s and Pedro’s bitterness is intensified by the embarrassment of having their mugshots released to the world as suspects in the horrifying crime.
“I haven’t realized what is going on and why, why this happened,” Onil said. “And my life is now, I feel I’m free, I’m out here now, but I’m not free. I’m still locked in somewhere.”
He’s haunted by nightmare each night, he said. “This has torn my heart apart. This has killed me. I am a walking corpse right now.”
Pedro said that he, too, “is still locked up.”
“I can’t go nowhere because they think I’m a monster, too, and I’m not,” he said. “And it just keeps going over and over in my head that people are just thinking that I did this.”
The men are in hiding in an undisclosed location. They say rocks have been thrown through their windows, and they have been receiving death threats online.
“I don’t want to be hunted down like a dog for a crime that I did not commit,” Pedro Castro said. “I don’t want to be locked up in my house because somebody out there is going to do harm to me. I want to be free like I was.”
“Now, I feel trapped for what somebody else did, and it’s a family member. … They should not take it out on the family. Threats of burning up the houses, killing Pedro, that’s not right. You already got your monster. Please give us our freedom. I want the world to know this.”
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CNN Producer John Murgatroyd contributed to this report.
Article source: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/05/13/us/ohio-castro-brothers/index.html?eref=edition
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