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Neighbors living near Castro look back suspiciously

1:16 PM, May 8, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND, Oh. (WKYC) -- Neighbors along Seymour Avenue in Ohio City describe themselves as a close-knit community.

But for more than a decade, they didn't know at least 4 other people were living inside the house owned by Ariel Castro, held against their will.

"It never would have appeared that he's this type of person," says Darlene Wesler of her neighbor, Ariel Castro, 52.

Castro kept to himself and appeared to be a bachelor who was hardly home. But on a warm May evening, screams from a young woman claiming to be Amanda Berry, shattered the idea that these neighbors knew everything about one another.

"Everybody's scratching their heads about that. We have no idea it was even happening under our noses," says Cynthia Conner.

For over a decade, Ariel Castro allegedly kept a secret. He possibly kept a few in fact: Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, were captive. And no one in the neighborhood ever suspected a thing. That is, until hindsight kicked in.

Charles Ramsey, the neighbor who helped rescue Amanda Berry and the other women, says the door was locked tight and plastic bags were on the windows.

And now boarded up windows like the ones on abandoned seem strange to people in the neighborhood, considering Castro lived there.

"If you look at the houses, they are very close. They're not more than 15 or 20 feet apart," says National Security Expert, Tim Dimoff.

He believes making the home look similar to the boarded up neighboring homes was intentional. He says captors, like the accused Castro, are calculated in keeping their victims secret and the home was meticulously closed up to keep those girls quiet for so long.

"We know the person always used the back door, didn't open it up wide, never had doors wide open, windows wide open, plastic or other coatings over the windows, so when you look at this house, it's very confined and camouflaged," says Dimoff.

In the area where they were eventually found, these women truly were just under investigators' noses. A year ago, a tip lead investigators to dig for Amanda Berry's body, just two or three blocks west of Castro's home. Now we know, she may have been watching the coverage from the basement here on Seymour.


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