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
"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
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.