Cleveland Kidnapping Suspect Ariel Castro Hid a Dark Side, His Uncle Says

Ariel Castro owned the home where three missing women were found Monday.

ByABC News
May 7, 2013, 4:11 AM

May 7, 2013— -- Ariel Castro is a fired school bus driver who loved playing with children, music and his bass guitar. He was also skilled at keeping a dark side hidden, said his uncle, who lived down the block from his nephew's home where three missing women bolted to freedom.

"Nobody in the neighborhood or in the family could imagine that something like this would happen," Julio Castro told ABC News.

He said he had no indication three women were living inside the modest two-story home Ariel Castro had owned since 1992.

Juan Alicea, a relative of Castro, said the suspect was intensely private and kept his social life outside of his home.

"He'd never have anyone come over," Alicea said. "He'd never had [a] social life unless they were outside on the porch or something, as far as I know."

FULL COVERAGE: Cleveland Missing Women Found

Georgina "Gina" DeJesus, 23, Amanda Berry, 27, and Michele Knight, 32, were found alive Monday night after they vanished a decade ago near their Cleveland homes. Berry escaped from the home about 6 p.m. with the help of Charles Ramsey, a neighbor. She then called police, who pulled DeJesus and Knight from the home.

RELATED: Listen to Amanda Berry's 911 Call

Authorities arrested Ariel Castro, 52, and his brothers, Pedro Castro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50, who police said they believed helped their brother.

Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said at a news conference today charges would be filed within 36 hours of the three suspects' arrests. It was not immediately known what charges the men could face or what roles the brothers allegedly played in the crime.

Castro, who relatives and a neighbor said loved playing with children, had a checkered past as a bus driver with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, according to his personnel record obtained by ABC News.

He was suspended for 60 days without pay in February 2004 after he inadvertently left a child on a bus, received a second 60 day suspension in June 2009 for making an illegal U-turn with kids on board the bus, and was suspended a third time for two months for using a bus to go grocery shopping, according to the records. He was also reported to supervisors for cursing at a child on his bus.

The final straw, according to records, came in October 2012 when Castro left a bus unlocked and unattended for several hours, resulting in his termination.

Castro A 'Fun Guy'

Juan Perez, 27, has lived two houses down from Castro on Seymour Avenue since he was a child and said his neighbor was a "fun guy."

"I mean, parents trusted him. He talked to the parents. He was just a regular guy on the street," he said. "He put on that great mask that everyone thought he was a good guy."

Perez said Castro was well known on the block as a "charismatic" guy who always wanted to play with the kids in the neighborhood, often times riding his bicycle, or a four-wheeler, and offering kids rides up and down the block.

Castro's Facebook page says he has five grandchildren, but it's not clear what his marital status was or how many children he has.

Julio Castro said the alleged crime had brought "shame" to his family, as he tried to understand how his nephew kept his dark side concealed from other family and neighbors.

"Apparently he was living two personalities," Castro said. The uncle said the personality that he saw was "The personality that was dealing with kids and driving the bus, the personality of being a musician and playing the bass."

Charles Ramsey, the neighbor who helped Berry break free, said he'd barbecued with Castro and never suspected something amiss.