By Greg Botelho and Kevin Conlon
(CNN) — Corrections officers looking inside Ariel Castro’s cell found him with a sheet tied around his neck, his knees bent, his shorts around his ankles, 27 minutes after their last look.
They also found that the convicted kidnapper had apparently done more than kill himself that day, according to a report on Castro’s death from the Ohio State Highway Patrol. He wrote a note — dated that same day, September 3 — invoking scripture and saying that those who confessed with their heart “will be saved.”
“God loves you,” Castro wrote in all capital letters, “for all are sinners, we all fall short of the glory of God. Christ is my saviour and yours!!”
Did this constitute a suicide note? That’s subject to interpretation; the only person who would know it, Castro, isn’t alive to answer.
But the report released Wednesday indicates that he did indeed kill himself.
In the process, it also refuted a theory he died accidentally while engaged in auto-erotic asphyxiation, with state patrol spokeswoman Lt. Anne Ralston saying no evidence was found to support this claim.
One fact that some said pointed to this possibility was the fact that Castro was found with his pants pulled to his ankles and without underwear in his cell at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio. But, based partly on conversations with several inmates, the report found that Castro “frequently struggled to hold his pants up” after losing weight in prison. Moreover, an official indicated that Castro “frequently did not wear underwear,” so the fact he didn’t have any on at the time of his death wasn’t surprising.
Beyond that, the report also provides fresh detail into the final day of Castro, who just five months earlier was holding three women — as well as one of their young daughters, whom he’d fathered while in captivity — in his Cleveland home.
The document details nine times, between 2:14 p.m. and when his hanging body was found at 9:18 p.m., that corrections officers had looked into his cell or went near or past it.
He got a tray of food at 5:29 p.m., for instance, and a “supervisor, an officer and a nurse (stood) in front of” Castro’s cell one hour and 10 minutes later, according to surveillance video.
The next time anyone went by was 8:51 p.m., when the report indicated “an officer looked into Inmate Castro’s cell.”
“During the entirety of the video, no one is observed entering or exiting inmate Castro’s cell prior to the emergency call by the officers,” the report notes.
It added that “possible inaccurate and/or questionable entries” on the log book detailing what inmates were visited, and when, were found, but “no discrepancies were directly related to the death of Inmate Castro.” This comes after a report released in October found that two prison guards responsible for checking on Castro “did not timely perform” their required rounds.
Inside, they found the handwritten letter quoting Romans 8:39, a small Bible and another note that had “love” — inscribed in a heart — “my kids and grandkids.” Also appearing all around that paper were the names of family members, interspersed with symbols such as hearts, flowers and musical notes.
At the time of his death, Castro had been sentenced to life plus more than 1,000 years for kidnapping and repeatedly raping three young women: Michelle Knight, Georgina DeJesus and Amanda Berry. The former school bus driver lured the women — some of whom he knew through his own children — at different times into his home, where he variably tied them up, sexually assaulted them and prevented from having any contact with the outside world.
With the help of people nearby, Berry (then with her young daughter) escaped May 6 and called 911. The other two women, still inside the Seymour Avenue home, were rescued by authorities a short time later.
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