- A DNA test confirmed another dark twist in the story of three women imprisoned in a house for about a decade: Kidnapping and rape suspect Ariel Castro is the father of a 6-year-old girl who escaped from the house along with the women, a prosecutor said yesterday.
As the investigation into the women's ordeal continued, the FBI also said no human remains were among more than 200 pieces of evidence collected from the house.
Two of the women, including the one who gave birth to the girl, returned to relatives' houses earlier this week. The third woman, Michelle Knight, was released from a hospital yesterday with a request that her privacy be respected.
"Michelle Knight is in good spirits and would like the community to know that she is extremely grateful for the outpouring of flowers and gifts," the statement said.
No information would be provided about Knight's next steps, said MetroHealth Medical Center spokeswoman Phyllis Marino.
Castro remained in jail under a suicide watch on $8 million bond while prosecutors weighed what charges they might bring against him, including the possibility of charges carrying a death penalty. He currently is charged with rape and kidnapping.
Castro was represented at Thursday's hearing by public defender Kathleen Demetz, who said she is acting as Castro's adviser if needed until he's appointed a full-time attorney once he's charged by a grand jury. She said yesterday she can't speak to his guilt or innocence and said only that she advised him not to give any media interviews that might jeopardize his case.
Family members have portrayed Castro as a "monster" who terrorized the mother of his children, frequently beating her, playing twisted psychological games and locking her indoors.
The stories, repeated in separate interviews by members of Castro's extended family, have surprised people who knew him as a musician who played bass in several bands around Cleveland the last two decades.
Miguel Quinones, manager of a group Castro played with twice as a backup bass player about five years ago, said Thursday he had nothing bad to say about Castro based on his own experiences.
A police report alleged that Castro impregnated one of his captives at least five times and made her miscarry by starving her and punching her in the stomach. The report also said another one of the women, Amanda Berry, was forced to give birth in a plastic kiddie pool.
Tests by the state attorney general's office on a sample of Castro's DNA confirmed that he is the father of Berry's 6-year-old daughter, who was rescued from his house, the office said yesterday. After her release, the girl returned home with Berry, 27. Officials also were entering the DNA profile into a national database to see if it links him to other crimes.
The three women said Castro chained them up in the basement but eventually let them live on the home's second floor. Each woman told a similar story about being abducted after accepting a ride from him.
The FBI has not recovered human remains in its search of the house, spokeswoman Vicki Anderson said yesterday. Agents removed more than 200 pieces of evidence, she added, declining to say what was found.