In new news from Cleveland's horrific kidnapping case, neighbors are alleging that they called the police multiple times to the home where Ariel Castro and his two brothers held Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus, and Amanda Berry hostage for ten years. Neighbors claim that even though their calls described chilling scenarios — naked women on leashes crawling on all fours and women pounding on windows — they were either ignored, or the police completed very cursory check-ins.
Elsie Cintron, who lives three houses away, said her daughter once saw a naked woman crawling on her hands and knees in the backyard several years ago and called police. "But they didn't take it seriously," she said.
Another neighbor, Israel Lugo, said he heard pounding on some of the doors of Castro's house, which had plastic bags on the windows, in November 2011. Lugo said officers knocked on the front door, but no one answered. "They walked to the side of the house and then left," he said.
Neighbors also said they would sometimes see Ariel Castro walking a little girl to a neighborhood playground. And Cintron said she once saw a little girl looking out of the house's attic window.
Israel Lugo said he, his family and neighbors called police three times between 2011 and 2012 after seeing disturbing things at the home of Ariel Castro. Lugo lives two houses down from Castro and grew suspicious after neighbors reported seeing naked women on leashes crawling on all fours behind Castro's house.
Lugo said about two years ago his sister told him she heard a woman pounding on a window at Castro's home as if she needed help. When his sister looked up, she saw a woman and a baby standing in a window half covered with a wooden plank. His sister told him and Lugo called the police.
But wait, there's more!
A third call came from neighborhood women who lived in an apartment building. Those women told Lugo they called police because they saw three young girls crawling on all fours naked with dog leashes around their necks. Three men were controlling them in the backyard. The women told Lugo they waited two hours but police never responded to the calls.
However, Cleveland officials said they have no record of any calls about criminal activity at the house, but that they are "still combing their records". Ugh.
This is especially heinous news as we learn about the conditions in the house. According Khalid Samad, a former assistant safety director for the city who now works for a crime prevention non-profit, told USA Today law enforcement officials told him the women were beaten while pregnant, with unborn children not surviving, and that there was a dungeon of sorts with chains. All the shudders, forever.
In another intense revelation from this story, Emily Castro, Ariel's daughter, is currently serving 25 years in prison for allegedly slashing her 11-month-old daughter's throat four times in 2007. She then cut her own neck and wrists and attempted to drown herself in a nearby creek. She suffers from manic depression diagnosed when she was 13, the court record says.
Ariel Castro's 31-year-old son Anthony, a journalism student who bizarrely/coincidentally wrote an article about Gina DeJesus' disappearance in 2004, says "This is beyond comprehension ... I'm truly stunned right now."
This case just gets more and more mind-blowing and heartbreaking.
Image via Ap