Ariel Castro Kidnappings

2207 Seymour Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44113

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Quick Facts

Killer(s): Ariel Castro,

Victim(s): Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus,

Written by: Amanda Peukert

About This Location:

What Happened:

Between 2002 and 2004, Ariel Castro kidnapped 21-year-old Michelle Knight, 16-year-old Amanda Berry, and 14-year-old Georgina "Gina" DeJesus. Castro offered each victim a ride, then lured them into his home and bound the girls' hands and feet. Over the course of the next 11 years, he repeatedly raped, starved, and abused the young women, even impregnating Knight and Berry.

On May 6, 2013, after realizing Castro had neglected to lock the “big inside door,” Berry began screaming for help. Two neighbors heard Berry’s pleas and quickly kicked a hole through the bottom of the storm door. Berry then crawled through the hole with her 6-year-old daughter – the biological offspring of her brutal captor – in tow. When on the phone with 9-1-1, Berry exclaimed, “Help me, I've been kidnapped, and I've been missing for ten years. And I'm here. I'm free now!" Shortly after, officers entered Castro’s home and rescued Knight and DeJesus. Ariel Castro was arrested the same day.

Where It Happened:

2207 Seymour Avenue, located in Cleveland, Ohio’s residential Tremont neighborhood. As part of Castro’s plea bargain to spare him the death penalty, the house was demolished on August 7, 2013. As of 2018, it has been described as “an un-mowed field now full of trash.”

Disturbing Facts:

• Four months after being sentenced to 1,000 years in prison, 53-year-old Ariel Castro hanged himself with bedsheets in his cell.

• Amanda Berry was kidnapped one day before her 17th birthday.

• Castro terminated Michelle Knight’s 5+ pregnancies by beating her with dumbbells.

• Castro allowed Amanda Berry to deliver her baby and often took the child with him to run errands and visit family, claiming she was the child of his girlfriend.

• Castro made Knight deliver Berry’s baby and threatened to kill her if the child did not survive.

• After the house was demolished, contractors were instructed to dispose of the building material for fear that people would try to sell it online.

• A self-proclaimed psychic told Amanda Berry’s mother Amanda was dead “in the water.”

• Amanda Berry’s mother died of heart failure before her daughter was rescued.

• Ariel Castro claimed the kidnappings were not planned, but rather “crimes of opportunity.”

• Gina DeJesus was friends with Ariel Castro’s daughter Arlene and assumed Castro was merely driving her home.

• Because Michelle Knight was an adult at the time of her disappearance, minimal resources were expended to locate her. What’s more, Knight’s 10-year-old son was in the custody of the state at the time of Knight’s disappearance, and many speculated she was simply running away from her problems.

• At the time of the kidnappings, Ariel Castro was a school bus driver for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

Finding the Location

Understandably, Ariel Castro’s former neighbors harbor both guilt and unease about the happenings at 2207 Seymour Avenue, and the flocks of folks who gawk at the lot where Castro’s house once stood have justifiably become a nuisance. "It's like being a monkey in a cage," said Anthony Westry, a 30-year resident of the neighborhood. "We don't want to be the people that people point at anymore.” That said, should you visit 2207 Seymour Avenue, respect and tribute are always encouraged. Be advised, Morbid Tourism does not encourage loitering or trespassing.