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One of three brothers charged with kidnapping, rape


Washington, May 8 (EFE).- Ariel Castro, the main suspect in the kidnapping of three young women whom he held captive for more than a decade in his Cleveland home, was charged with four counts of kidnapping and three of rape, the assistant prosecutor for Cleveland, Victor Perez, said Wednesday.

At a press conference, Perez said that two of Castro's brothers - Pedro, 54, and Onil, 50, who are also under arrest - at present have not had charges filed against them.

Castro, 52, is facing four kidnapping charges because he also held the now-6-year-old daughter of one of the women captive since birth.

The three women are: Michelle Knight, 32, who vanished in 2002; Amanda Berry, now 27, who disappeared in 2003; and Gina DeJesus, 23, who went missing in 2004. They were rescued when Castro was away from the house and Berry screamed for help and a neighbor responded.

Cleveland deputy police chief Ed Tomba told reporters that the authorities as yet have "no evidence" that would lead them to believe that the other two brothers were involved in holding the women captive or in the prolonged sexual and psychological abuse to which Castro allegedly subjected them, and he added that they may not have known anything about it.

He also said that the women had been let outside only twice in the 10 years they were held captive to walk from Castro's house to the garage behind it, and on those occasions they were "disguised."

Tomba also said that the three women were held in "separate" rooms, although because they were all simultaneously in the house for so long they came in contact with each other on several occasions.

He refused to confirm or deny that the women had become pregnant multiple times during their captivity but that Castro caused them to abort the fetuses by beating them, as local media have reported.

Investigators searching the house found chains and ropes that were probably used to tie them up, although so far no human remains have been found.

Police Chief Richard McGrath said in an interview with NBC that chains and ropes had been found that could have been used to restrict the movements of the women.

Berry and DeJesus returned to their families' homes on Wednesday and were said to be doing fine physically, while Knight was taken to the hospital apparently to be treated for unspecified mental problems that she had suffered from before being kidnapped and that had been aggravated by the conditions under which she lived in captivity.

One of Castro's neighbors said that about two years ago he called the police to report that he had briefly seen a naked woman in the back yard of the home before a man forced her to go inside once again.

Another neighbor in November 2011 reported strange noises coming from the modest wooden home and said that black plastic bags had been put up to cover the windows. The police knocked on the door to investigate, but nobody answered and they left, the witness said.