It'll come as a surprise to nobody anywhere ever to learn that the psychopath who kidnapped, imprisoned, raped, and tortured three women for ten years reportedly has a history of repeatedly abducting his daughters and threatening to kill his wife and daughters.
In a domestic violence case brought against Ariel Castro in August 2005 by his (then ex-?)wife Grimilda Figueroa, he was accused of repeatedly kidnapping their daughters. Even though the court awarded full custody of their four children — including Anthony and Emily — to Figueroa in 1997, she claims it didn't stop Castro from frequently abducting the girls.
Not only that, the documents state that Castro often physically abused Figueroa. She allegedly suffered two broken noses, broken ribs, a knocked-out tooth, and two dislocated shoulders.
Oh, but there's even more to this horrific nightmare. According to The Daily Telegraph, who obtained the documents:
Lawyers for Ms Figueroa said at the time that she had suffered a "blood clot on the brain", which they described as an "inoperable tumour", due to acts of violence by Mr Castro.
The documents also state that Castro, then 45, "threatened to kill [Figueroa] and daughters 3-4 times just this year," and that he had "most recently threatened to kill her on 8/25/05 and the children also".
However, nothing could be done to protect Figueroa and her children as her lawyer didn't show up for the court hearing, and the case was dropped. Apparently her counsel cautioned her against speaking for herself, and she didn't make any objection to the judge's decision to dismiss the protection order. Both Figueroa and Castro were judged to have "waived their right to any further hearing", the case's final document stated. Tragically, Figueroa died last year.
How did the judge decide to dismiss such a case for something so simple as a lawyer not showing up? Why don't we have better legal resources for victims of domestic violence? How ill-equipped, poorly run, understaffed, and overworked must our legal system be to let a case like that slide? It's infuriating and heartbreaking to yet again witness the ease with which such cases are dismissed.
Would it have made a difference to the kidnapped women if Castro had been found guilty in 2005? Maybe, maybe not — but if he had successfully been restrained from seeing his children, perhaps things could've ended differently for his daughter, Emily.
Emily is currently serving 25 years in prison for allegedly slashing her 11-month-old daughter's throat four times in 2007, and then trying to kill herself. Obviously there are no excuses for such a heinous act, but learning about what she's most likely lived through, it's probably the least surprising thing about this whole awful case.
Image via AP