Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro was surprised by how long he managed to get away with the abduction, abuse, and rape of his three female victims.
The 53-year-old former bus driver committed suicide this week after his conviction guaranteed that he would spend the rest of his life in prison. The story doesn’t end there, however. Interrogation tapes recorded after his capture have been released, and provide some insight into his motives.
Overall, Castro said that he was surprised that he’d managed to get away with his crimes for so long, and recalled several times that he was nearly caught. Once, a girlfriend was visiting and noticed a TV on in the room where Michelle Knight was being held. “And my heart started beating, and I was like, ‘OK, she’s probably catching onto something,’ ” he said.
Another time, he actually called Amanda Berry’s mother on her own cell phone to confirm that her daughter was still alive. “I think I said something… that I have her daughter and that she’s OK and that she’s my wife now — something like that, you know, probably not the exact words,” he said.
Of course, none of these near-misses resulted in the ongoing missing persons investigation turning his way. “Nothing led us to talk to him,” the FBI’s Vicki Anderson told NBC News in May. “You know, there were no indications that we should go talk to him. We canvassed the neighborhood. We did all of those things. Nothing led us to Ariel Castro.”
The tapes also show that Castro had been contemplating suicide immediately after his capture.
“I just want to crash through the window,” he told his interrogators. A note from 2004 found in his house contained similar sentiments. “I want to put an end to my life and let the devil deal with me,” it said.
But experts aren’t exactly sorry for Castro.
“Everything he has done is indicative of a narcissistic personality disorder,” psychologist Dr. J. Buzz Von Ornsteiner said. “He’s self-centered. He’s self-absorbed. It’s all about him.”
“These degenerate molesters are cowards,” said Tim McGinty, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor in the case. “They con and capture vulnerable children. This man couldn’t take, for even a month, a small portion of what he had dished out for more than a decade.”
Listen to clips of Ariel Castro’s interrogation tapes below: