ABC News has confirmed Ariel Castro, the former Cleveland, Ohio, school bus driver who pleaded guilty to holding three women hostage for a decade, is dead.
A spokesperson with Ohio Rehabilitation and Correction said Castro was found hanging in his prison cell at 9:20 p.m. (ET) Tuesday evening and was taken to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center where he was pronounced dead 90 minutes later.
Due to the high profile of his crime, Castro had been in protective custody, meaning he was in a cell alone and was checked by correctional facility staff every 30 minutes.
Castro was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole last August 1 after agreeing to plead guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping, rape, assault and aggravated murder, in exchange for prosecutors declining to seek the death penalty.
He admitted to kidnapping Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus between 2002 and 2004, repeatedly raping them in his Cleveland home. The three women managed to escape on May 6 when Berry broke free and called 911 from a neighbor’s home.
Castro had also been accused of the aggravated murder of a fetus for allegedly forcibly causing an abortion in one of his victims, whom he was accused of impregnating.
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