Ariel Castro committed suicide in his jail cell on Tuesday, and the death of the man convicted of holding three women hostage for more than a decade has elicited strong emotions online.
Guards found Castro found hanging in his cell at the Correction Reception Center in Orient, Ohio. The 52-year-old had been held there since he was sentenced August 1 for kidnapping and repeatedly raping Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, and Gina DeJesus, who he held in his Cleveland home for more than a decade.
Ariel Castro was pronounced dead at 10:52 pm, and online commenters wasted no time in attacking Castro and the decision to end his life.
“He died as he lived: An abhorrent coward,” wrote one Reddit user.
A news story about Ariel Castro’s suicide quickly became one of the most popular links on Reddit, generating close to 1,000 comments in less than an hour. Many of the site’s users pointed out the particular cowardice he showed in choosing to end his life.
“What a f***ing piece of s**t,” another user wrote. “He locks up innocent strangers for ten years and they have to courage to keep fighting all that time and he doesn’t have the will to experience a fraction of what he put them through.”
There were some who complained that Castro’s suicide robbed his victims of the closure they deserved. Several news outlets pointed to his sentencing phase, when his victims showed the courage that allowed them to endure years of torture and confronted Castro in court.
“I spent 11 years in hell. Your hell is just beginning,” victim Michelle Knight told Castro.
Others reacted to Castro’s suicide with something closer to celebration.
Ariel Castro killed himself in prison. What a perfect way to end an already incredible day!!
— Dane Cook (@DaneCook) September 4, 2013
Thank you, Ariel Castro, for hanging yourself and sparing those 3 beautiful young ladies u tortured the horror of knowing you still live
— Rebel (@2Rebels) September 4, 2013
Meanwhile, prison officials said they are looking into exactly how Ariel Castro committed suicide. He was in a protective custody cell at the time, with guards checking in every half hour.