Ariel Castro committed suicide inside his Ohio prison cell on Tuesday night, an act that one expert on suicide prevention said was all too predictable.
Castro was facing the prospect of spending the remainder of his life in prison after being convicted of kidnapping three young women in Cleveland and holding them captive for more than a decade. The act elicited anger from those who wanted to see Castro pay for his acts, and criticism that he could hold three women in bondage for so long but kill himself when he faced a similar situation.
Lindsay Hayes, a national expert on suicide prevention, said it was “only a matter of time” before Castro ended his life.
“Someone who had been convicted of such a heinous and despicable crime, who was going to spend the rest of his life in prison — I wasn’t surprised,” Hayes, the director of the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives and author of the National Study of Jail Suicide, told CBS News‘ Crimesider.
Ariel Castro’s suicide would likely come as a disappointment to his victims. At Castro’s August 1 sentencing, victim Michelle Knight said the death penalty would have been “so much easier” for Castro to face.
“You deserve to spend the rest of your life in prison,” Knight said.
Though the victims have not spoken about the suicide, Castro’s cousin Maria Castro-Montes said she hoped the death might bring a bit of closure for them.
“I just hope these victims can move past this now. I know they wanted him to live out a life sentence, but really, was he suffering behind bars?” she said. “I mean, getting meals, sleeping in a nice, warm, soft bed. You know, those girls didn’t even have that luxury when they were being held captive in his home. They were being raped. They were being tortured. They were being beaten.”
Castro had hinted at suicide in the past. Not long after the women escaped his Cleveland home, investigators found a note Castro had written where he talked about suicide.
The Ohio prison where Ariel Castro was being held in protective custody took him off suicide watch in June, however.