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Cleveland Kidnapping Cases Not Random - Do you really know your neighbors?

Posted by on May. 8, 2013 at 10:20 AM
  • 17 Replies

Cleveland Kidnapping Cases May Not Have Been as Random as They Seemed

by Sasha Brown-Worsham

Castro brothersThe Cleveland kidnapping story of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight couldn't be more tragic and bizarre. Emerging details are still largely rumor, but it sounds like all three women were forced into unthinkably awful positions, even being spotted naked and on all fours by a neighbor at one point. Meanwhile, the alleged kidnappers, Ariel, Pedro, and Onil Castro, all brothers, taunted investigators and reporters with comments.

In fact, the entire Castro family had bizarre connections to the girls. Arlene Castro, daughter of Ariel Castro (the man who owned the home where the girls were found), actually commented on the America's Most Wanted episode about the disappearance of DeJesus and said she was best friends with Gina.

Click for video.

It's chilling to think that Castro may have targeted DeJesus because she knew his daughter. But that isn't the only connection. Over the years, the Castro family would intersect with the missing persons case time and again.

Anthony Castro, the son of Ariel Castro, had written about the changes in the neighborhood after Gina disappeared as part of a class assignment at Bowling Green State University. The article said:

Since April 2, 2004, the day 14-year-old Gina DeJesus was last seen on her way home from Wilbur Wright Middle School, neighborhood residents have been taken by an overwhelming need for caution. Parents are more strictly enforcing curfews, encouraging their children to walk in groups, or driving them to and from school when they had previously walked alone.

"You can tell the difference," DeJesus’ mother, Nancy Ruiz said. "People are watching out for each other’s kids. It’s a shame that a tragedy had to happen for me to really know my neighbors. Bless their hearts, they’ve been great."

Of course the great irony here is that even the Castro family themselves missed what was under their nose. Let alone the neighbors who ignored it for years or the cops who ignored leads. It's just unimaginable how many opportunities were lost to rescue these girls from this horrifying captivity.

Perhaps the most shocking of all the connections was the comment from Pedro Castro just last year while crews were searching a local area for Berry's body. "It's a waste of money," Pedro tells the camera. At the time it seemed like a bitter old man ranting and raving, but now it's chilling.

Click for video.

It's amazing that the answer was right there, that members of the very community from which these girls were stolen were also possibly responsible for their captivity.

Perhaps most disturbing, Ariel Castro may have even comforted DeJesus' mother at a vigil and helped hand out fliers, all when he knew where she was. Just beyond sick.

In so many ways, this case makes you wonder if you know your neighbors. Having just moved to a new town, I know there is a great deal I don't know about my neighbors, but even so, I expect them to be decent people. For years, the Castros floated in and out of the spotlight in regards to this case and these men knew what they had done.

It's just chilling.

Do you feel like you know your neighbors?

by on May. 8, 2013 at 10:20 AM
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Replies (1-10):
jeweldragons
by on May. 8, 2013 at 4:31 PM
We don't interact with our neighbors and keep to ourselves. It's sad but I don't trust most people in general.
JanuaryBaby06
by Gold Member on May. 8, 2013 at 8:54 PM
This is scary. I know my immediate neighbors but i live in a city full of rowhomes... there are alot of people.... it's just scarey :(
Carpy
by Platinum Member on May. 8, 2013 at 9:15 PM

We have some neighbors the rest of the area is concerned about.  You only ever see him.  The kids and wife are NEVER seen.  I found the boy approaching my back dog pen and he took off through the trees like a rocket and last summer two elderly couples where caught sneaking though my trees trying to look down there.  The two old guys said they had to pee, then they said there wives wanted to talk with me and they were questioning if I had seen the daughter.  They post a sign if UPS come that says "Do NOT approach the house.  Leave package by the road and I will come get it"  They have a chain across their drive and huge no trespassing signs.  Weird.  Now today I had two neighbors calling and asking if we should report them to the sheriff.

annas_momma
by Member on May. 8, 2013 at 9:59 PM
This is horrifying, but thankfully I know my neighbors really well. I have their alarm codes, keys to their houses, and can walk in whenever I want, and vice versa. Then again, I have lived here for almost 20 years.
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JoJoBean8
by Silver Member on May. 11, 2013 at 9:50 PM

Well since one of my neighbors is a registered sex offender we keep to ourselves.

29again
by Gold Member on May. 11, 2013 at 9:58 PM

I know WHO they are, which house they go with for the most part.  But, they are all new, been on the block for just a couple of years or so. We have been here for more than 15 years.  All the old neighbors that we knew have either died off, with their houses turned into rentals, or moved.

29again
by Gold Member on May. 11, 2013 at 10:01 PM

The OP says that all three brothers were involved in this kidnapping.  I thought that the 2 were NOT charged with anything to do with the kidnapping, that they were pretty much let go.  When did the OP write this, before they even went to court??

gludwig2000
by Gina on May. 12, 2013 at 3:45 PM

 I interact with a couple of my neighbors, not much, but a little. As to the others, we don't like each other so we avoid each other as much as possible, which really is the best thing.

gludwig2000
by Gina on May. 12, 2013 at 3:49 PM
2 moms liked this
Very difficult situation to find yourself in, imo. You want to make sure things are okay in that home, but you don't want to cause waves just in case things are harmless even if they are weird. And even if you do speak to the sheriff, will they have enough reason to investigate? I wouldn't know what to do in your situation.
Quoting Carpy:

We have some neighbors the rest of the area is concerned about.  You only ever see him.  The kids and wife are NEVER seen.  I found the boy approaching my back dog pen and he took off through the trees like a rocket and last summer two elderly couples where caught sneaking though my trees trying to look down there.  The two old guys said they had to pee, then they said there wives wanted to talk with me and they were questioning if I had seen the daughter.  They post a sign if UPS come that says "Do NOT approach the house.  Leave package by the road and I will come get it"  They have a chain across their drive and huge no trespassing signs.  Weird.  Now today I had two neighbors calling and asking if we should report them to the sheriff.

Sisteract
by Socialist Hippie on May. 12, 2013 at 4:11 PM

I know them superficially. Many of the homes in my development (one circular road actually) are secondary vacation homes that sit vacant much of the time.

We also have a couple of Gladys Kravitzs who B/M about everything.

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