Skip to main content

Ohio state patrol: Ariel Castro committed suicide, with handwritten notes nearby

By Greg Botelho and Kevin Conlon, CNN
updated 8:33 AM EST, Thu December 5, 2013
Ariel Castro had been sentenced to life plus more than 1,000 years for kidnapping and repeatedly raping three young women.
Ariel Castro had been sentenced to life plus more than 1,000 years for kidnapping and repeatedly raping three young women.
  • State report: Ariel Castro committed suicide, didn't die of auto-erotic asphyxiation
  • A corrections officer saw Castro 27 minutes before the inmate was found hanging
  • A note in Castro's cell says "all are sinners, we all fall short on the glory of God"
  • Another handwritten note says "love my kids and grandkids"

(CNN) -- Corrections officers looking inside Ariel Castro's cell found him with a sheet tied around his neck, his knees bent, his shorts around his ankles, 27 minutes after their last look.

They also found that the convicted kidnapper had apparently done more than kill himself that day, according to a report on Castro's death from the Ohio State Highway Patrol. He wrote a note -- dated that same day, September 3 -- invoking scripture and saying that those who confessed with their heart "will be saved."

"God loves you," Castro wrote in all capital letters, "for all are sinners, we all fall short of the glory of God. Christ is my saviour and yours!!"

Michelle Knight reveals horrific details

Did this constitute a suicide note? That's subject to interpretation; the only person who would know it, Castro, isn't alive to answer.

But the report released Wednesday indicates that he did indeed kill himself.

In the process, it also refuted a theory he died accidentally while engaged in auto-erotic asphyxiation, with state patrol spokeswoman Lt. Anne Ralston saying no evidence was found to support this claim.

Why Michelle Knight never gave up hope

One fact that some said pointed to this possibility was the fact that Castro was found with his pants pulled to his ankles and without underwear in his cell at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio. But, based partly on conversations with several inmates, the report found that Castro "frequently struggled to hold his pants up" after losing weight in prison. Moreover, an official indicated that Castro "frequently did not wear underwear," so the fact he didn't have any on at the time of his death wasn't surprising.

Beyond that, the report also provides fresh detail into the final day of Castro, who just five months earlier was holding three women -- as well as one of their young daughters, whom he'd fathered while in captivity -- in his Cleveland home.

The document details nine times, between 2:14 p.m. and when his hanging body was found at 9:18 p.m., that corrections officers had looked into his cell or went near or past it.

He got a tray of food at 5:29 p.m., for instance, and a "supervisor, an officer and a nurse (stood) in front of" Castro's cell one hour and 10 minutes later, according to surveillance video.

The next time anyone went by was 8:51 p.m., when the report indicated "an officer looked into Inmate Castro's cell."

"During the entirety of the video, no one is observed entering or exiting inmate Castro's cell prior to the emergency call by the officers," the report notes.

It added that "possible inaccurate and/or questionable entries" on the log book detailing what inmates were visited, and when, were found, but "no discrepancies were directly related to the death of Inmate Castro." This comes after a report released in October found that two prison guards responsible for checking on Castro "did not timely perform" their required rounds.

Inside, they found the handwritten letter quoting Romans 8:39, a small Bible and another note that had "love" -- inscribed in a heart -- "my kids and grandkids." Also appearing all around that paper were the names of family members, interspersed with symbols such as hearts, flowers and musical notes.

At the time of his death, Castro had been sentenced to life plus more than 1,000 years for kidnapping and repeatedly raping three young women: Michelle Knight, Georgina DeJesus and Amanda Berry. The former school bus driver lured the women -- some of whom he knew through his own children -- at different times into his home, where he variably tied them up, sexually assaulted them and prevented from having any contact with the outside world.

With the help of people nearby, Berry (then with her young daughter) escaped May 6 and called 911. The other two women, still inside the Seymour Avenue home, were rescued by authorities a short time later.

Diaries kept by Ariel Castro's captives paint picture of torment, trauma

Part of complete coverage on
Ohio women found
updated 7:18 PM EDT, Wed May 14, 2014
Michelle Knight wasn't the only one being held by Ariel Castro. But she knew she was different.
updated 12:05 PM EDT, Tue May 6, 2014
Michelle Knight remembers exactly how Ariel Castro lured her into his home.
updated 7:07 PM EST, Wed November 6, 2013
Michelle Knight squeezes her eyes shut and cries as she listens to the 911 call that led police to rescue her from the house where Ariel Castro held her hostage for more than a decade.
updated 6:36 PM EDT, Wed September 4, 2013
Ariel Castro who was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years for kidnapping, raping and holding captive three women was found hanging in his prison cell.
updated 12:32 PM EDT, Thu August 1, 2013
Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus weren't in the courtroom. But their diaries gave authorities a window into the horror they suffered for a decade.
updated 1:37 PM EDT, Sun August 4, 2013
They were living in hell, and Ariel Castro did all he could to make sure they'd never escape it.
updated 6:38 AM EDT, Mon August 5, 2013
Michelle Knight, one of three women kidnapped by Ariel Castro, returned Friday to the Cleveland house where she was chained up and tormented for 11 years, a neighbor said.
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Thu August 1, 2013
When her chance came, kidnapping victim Michelle Knight lit into Ariel Castro, the man who held her captive and raped her in his Cleveland home for a decade.
updated 9:54 AM EDT, Fri August 2, 2013
The woman's voice wavered, just for a moment.
updated 9:56 AM EDT, Fri August 2, 2013
From the outside, the home at 2207 Seymour Avenue looked like most any other in Cleveland's Westside neighborhood.
updated 10:06 AM EDT, Tue July 9, 2013
For the first time since their rescue, the world is hearing directly from the three women who were held captive in Cleveland for a decade.
updated 3:57 AM EDT, Fri August 2, 2013
For his victims, Thursday was roughly a decade in coming.
updated 8:25 PM EDT, Thu May 9, 2013
In retrospect, there were plenty of signs that something was wrong.
updated 1:10 PM EDT, Thu August 1, 2013
For the first time, take a look inside the Cleveland house where three women were held captive for a decade.
updated 6:55 AM EDT, Mon May 13, 2013
How the macabre enslavement of two girls and a woman began has deeply disturbed a nation, if not the world.
updated 11:37 AM EDT, Sun May 19, 2013
When the police arrived at Castro's house, it was almost peaceful. As if nobody else was there. And then they heard the sound of scurrying feet upstairs.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Mon May 13, 2013
Ariel Castro's brothers say he's "a monster" who should rot in jail and they "want the world to know" they had no idea their brother was holding women captive.
updated 9:14 PM EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
Two were just teenagers when they were kidnapped, but the three women have finally been found a decade later.
updated 5:33 AM EDT, Wed May 8, 2013
When Amanda Berry screamed for help through a crack in the front door of the house where she was being held, she set in motion an end to roughly a decade of captivity for herself and two other women.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Fri May 10, 2013
His Cleveland neighbors are trying to come with grips with the two personas -- the first, they thought they knew, the other, the one that authorities describe.