Cleveland kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro escaped without scrutiny for years — and remained in his job as a public school bus driver — despite an extensive history of violence that included threats to neighbors, physical abuse and a troubling incident involving a special-education student.
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Staying with the story
The Dayton Daily News has worked tirelessly to bring you the latest developments in the Cleveland kidnapping case. We examined police and court records, interviewed criminal justice and child welfare experts and explored ways in which the crime could lead to increased vigilence in our community.
How to get help:
The Oasis House, 898-7811, provides help for women victimized by the sex industry, including prostitutes and exotic dancers. Services range from psychological counseling to computer training. Oasis House is a member of the Ohio Benefits Bank and partners with other groups, including Montgomery County Crisis Care, CADAS, Nova House and other drug and alcohol recovery programs.
Timeline of Ariel Castro’s encounters with police
Sept. 30, 1989: According to police reports, Castro became violent when his brothers came to the house and his common-law wife, Grimilda Figueroa, asked where he was going. He slapped her several times, then slammed her several times against the wall and the washing machine. Figueroa suffered an injury to her right shoulder and arm, but she declined to press charges.
Dec. 26, 1993: Castro is arrested after running through yards near his home. Figueroa told police that he had thrown her to the ground, hit her about the head and face, and kicked her — only a month after she had undergone brain surgery. Castro was charged with domestic violence, but a Cuyahoga County grand jury did not indict him.
May 16, 1996: Figueroa’s boyfriend drove Castro’s children to the school bus stop and Castro pulled up behind him. The boyfriend reported that Castro shouted obscenities and told him he had “better watch himself.” He told police he believed Castro would have run him over if he had not gotten out of the way.
Aug. 17, 1996: Castro drove to the home of a former neighbor, who had sued Castro in a property dispute. He reportedly yelled, “I’m going to get you, bitch!” No charges were filed.
Jan. 26, 2004: Cleveland police investigated a case of child endangering when Castro left a special-education student on the bus. The victim told police that Castro drove to a Wendy’s restaurant to buy some food, ordering the child, “Lay down, bitch.” Castro then took the student home. Officers went to Castro’s home, but he wasn’t there. He was never charged.
Aug. 25, 2005: According to a police report, Castro threatened Figueroa over the phone that he was going to bring their daughter back from Ft. Wayne, Ind., and beat Figueroa in front of her. In a court filing at the time, Figueroa told police that over the years Castro had beaten her repeatedly, broken her nose twice, breaking her ribs and dislocating each of her shoulders. The court filing stated the beatings caused a blood clot on her brain.