Ohio kidnappings: Suspect partner’s abuse claim

Ariel Castro is accused of four kidnap and three rape charges. Picture: AP
Ariel Castro is accused of four kidnap and three rape charges. Picture: AP
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THE former partner of alleged US rapist and kidnapper Ariel Castro repeatedly went to the authorities to accuse him of abusing her, according to police reports, but the complaints never triggered more investigations.

The late Grimilda Figueroa’s accusations against Castro began in 1989 and the last came in 2005, three years after he allegedly kidnapped the first of three women and held them in a house in Cleveland, Ohio.

In the first case, he was not sentenced to prison and in the other two Figueroa, who had four children with Castro, chose to drop proceedings. Domestic abuse experts believe victims often change their minds because they are afraid.

Castro has been charged with three counts of raping Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight and four counts of kidnapping the three women and his daughter born to Berry while in captivity. Prosecutors also intend to charge him with murder in connection with starvation and abuse of Knight that led to miscarriages.

Figueroa died in April 2012, aged 48, from an accidental overdose of painkillers. Her last complaint against Castro, a 2005 court request for an “order of protection”, could have been a missed opportunity to expose him.

Figueroa also filed a police report in 2005 saying Castro had threatened to “beat your ass” in front of their daughter, according to the police report.

A spokeswoman for Cleveland mayor, Frank Jackson, said that police told Figueroa that year to file a criminal complaint but she did not.

Instead, Figueroa sought a civil order of protection.