CLEVELAND - A man suspected of keeping three women captive inside his house for a decade was charged Wednesday with kidnapping and rape, accused of holding them under conditions so oppressive they were let outside for only a few moments in disguise and never saw a chance to escape until this week.
Investigators said the women apparently were bound with ropes and chains. A city councilman briefed on the case said they were subjected to prolonged sexual and psychological abuse and suffered miscarriages.
Ariel Castro, 52, a former school bus driver, was charged with four counts of kidnapping - covering the captives and the daughter born to one of them - and three counts of rape, against all three women.
The women, now in their 20s and 30s, vanished separately between 2002 and 2004. At the time, they were 14, 16, and 20 years old.
Prosecutors brought no charges against Castro's two brothers, who were arrested along with him Monday, saying there was no evidence they had any part in the crime.
Castro owns the rundown home where the women were rescued Monday after one of them, Amanda Berry, broke through a screen door to freedom while he was away.
Police Deputy Chief Ed Tomba said it was the only opportunity they ever had to escape.
"Something must have clicked, and she saw an opportunity and she took that opportunity," he said.
He also said a paternity test on Castro was being done to establish who fathered Berry's 6-year-old daughter.
At a news conference, authorities would not discuss the circumstances of the women's kidnappings or give further details about their ordeals. But City Councilman Brian Cummins said: "We know that the victims have confirmed miscarriages, but with who, how many, and what conditions we don't know."
Neighbors said that over the years, Castro took part in the search for one of the women, Gina DeJesus.
None of the women said anything that indicated Castro's brothers were involved, Tomba said.
A court hearing for Ariel Castro is set for Thursday morning.
Earlier Wednesday, Berry, 27, and DeJesus, who is in her early 20s, were welcomed home by jubilant crowds of loved ones and neighbors with balloons and banners. Neither woman spoke.
"Give us time and privacy to heal," said Sandra Ruiz, DeJesus' aunt.
The third captive, Michelle Knight, 32, was reported in good condition at Metro Health Medical Center.