The death behind bars of the Cleveland man who pleaded guilty to the kidnapping, rape and mistreatment of three women over a decade was a suicide, an Ohio coroner said Wednesday.
Authorities at the state prison in Orient, Ohio, found Ariel Castro hanging Tuesday night and was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Though Castro was housed alone in protective custody, he was not on suicide watch and required guard checks came at 30-minute intervals, officials said.
The cause of death was suicide by hanging, according to the Franklin County coroner, Dr. Jan Gorniak.
Castro, 53, was sentenced Aug. 1 to life in prison without parole plus 1,000 years after he pleaded guilty to more than 900 counts for holding Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus prisoner inside his Cleveland home.
The women, who were kidnapped by Castro between 2002 and 2004, regained their freedom last May when Berry managed to attract the attention of a neighbor.
Rescued along with the three women was Berry's 6-year-old daughter, fathered by Castro.
The kidnapper's attorney, Craig Weintraub, said Wednesday that prison authorities recently rejected his request that Castro be examined by a psychologist due to "suicidal tendencies."
Castro's family "is devastated" by the news of his death, Weintraub told NBC's "Today"," vowing to press for a full investigation.
The law firm representing Castro's victims said none of the women plan to make any statements about the suicide.
"I ask the community to continue to respect the privacy of the survivors so that they can move forward with their lives," Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said in a statement. EFE