Cleveland Kidnap Suspect Comforted Victim's Mom Last Year

Kidnapping victim's best friend was suspect's daughter.

ByRussell Goldman
May 08, 2013, 2:25 PM

May 8, 2013— -- Cleveland kidnap suspect Ariel Castro brazenly played music last year at a fundraiser marking the tenth anniversary of Gina DeJesus disappearance and even comforted the missing woman's mother.

At the time, DeJesus, who was abducted when she was 14, was confined in Castro's house, police claim.

It wasn't the only time Castro showed concern for the girl who he allegedly imprisoned for a decade along with two other women.

When DeJesus first vanished, Castro handed out fliers urging people to be on the lookout for her and frequently attended rallies after her disappearance.

There were other strange coincidences involving the families of the missing women over the years.

The last person to see DeJesus before her kidnapping was her best friend and Castro's daughter, Arlene. Arlene Castro said in a 2005 interview with "America's Most Wanted" -- a year after DeJesus disappeared -- that the two were walking together after school in April 2004.

The two girls planned to spend the afternoon at Gina's house, but first Arlene needed to call home and ask permission. Gina lent her friend 50 cents to use a pay phone, money she otherwise would have used for bus fare so Arlene could call home, Arlene told America's Most Wanted.

"My mom said, 'No,' I can't go over to [Gina's] house. I told her I couldn't. She said well I'll talk to you later and just walked," Arlene said.

In another strange twist, Castro's son covered Gina's abduction for a community newspaper.

In June 2004, four months after DeJesus went missing, Anthony Castro, then a journalism student at Bowling Green University, covered the story for the Plain Press in an article titled "Gina DeJesus' Disappearance Has Changed Her Neighborhood."

"This is beyond comprehension ... I'm truly stunned right now," the younger Castro told television station WKYC-TV after news of his father's arrest.

Two of Castro's brothers, Onil Castro, 50, and Pedro Castro, 54, were also arrested on Monday, accused of complicity in the women's "kidnapping and sexual abuse."

The year before DeJesus disappeared, Amanda Berry, then 17, vanished while on her way home following a shift at a Burger King.

For years police have followed leads and run down tips, in the hopes of finding her. Twice cops dug up plots of land in which they believed Berry might be buried.

Last year, police excavated a site on a bad tip from a prison inmate. A local Fox news crew stopped a man on the street for a comment about the search.

That man was Pedro Castro.

Digging for Berry's body? "That's a waste of money," Castro told reporters.

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