‘Auto-erotic asphyxiation’ cited as possible Ariel Castro death cause


Ariel Castro

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — An investigation into the prison cell suicide of Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro found that he may have died by accident last month because of “auto-erotic asphyxiation.”

The probe also found that two prison guards didn’t perform required rounds at the facility and falsified records.

Castro was found in his cell with a Bible open to John Chapters 2 and 3 and “had pictures of his family out and arranged in a poster-board fashion,” according to a report released Thursday by the state Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

“He was hanging from a hinge in the window of his cell by a sheet wrapped around his neck. His pants and underwear were pulled down to his ankles. The relevance of this finding is unclear. These facts, however, were relayed to the Ohio State Highway Patrol for consideration of the possibility of auto-erotic asphyxiation,” the report said.

Auto-erotic asphyxiation involves depriving the brain of oxygen by controlled strangulation to intensify a sexual experience.

The department said “there appears to be no known, substantiated motivation for the self-inflicted death.”

Officials “reviewed several sources of information in an attempt to determine the motivation” for the suicide since “Castro left no suicide note and had previously shown no suicidal ideations in multiple levels of assessment.”

Also, the agency said, two prison guards responsible for checking on him “did not timely perform” required rounds, the department said. They appeared to have also falsified “the post log book for their rounds.”

The information was disclosed in an “after-action review report” issued by the department.

Castro, who was held at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, was found hanged with a bed sheet in his cell September 3. Prison medical staff tried to revive him.

The guards were placed on leave as investigators looked into Castro’s suicide. Any disciplinary action, which could include termination of employment, will be determined by the Ohio State Highway Patrol at the conclusion of its investigation.

Castro pleaded guilty in August to 937 counts, including the kidnapping of Michelle Knight, Georgina DeJesus and Amanda Berry. He held the women for roughly 10 years in his home. Castro was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years.

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