Ariel Castro walks into the courtroom for his arraignment Wednesday, June 12, 2013, in Cleveland. Castro, accused of holding three women captive in his Cleveland home for about a decade, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to hundreds of charges, including rape and kidnapping. He is charged with kidnapping three women and keeping them _ sometimes restrained in chains _ along with a 6-year-old girl he fathered with one of them. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
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CLEVELAND — A state crime laboratory is checking new evidence to determine if there were additional victims of a man charged with kidnapping three women and raping them in his home over a decade, the Ohio attorney general said Friday.
“We’ve received some additional evidence but that would be normal,” Attorney General Mike DeWine said. He declined to specify the nature or source of the new evidence.
“We are well on our way. We’ve processed a lot of the evidence already. We have a ways to go, but we’re making very good progress with it.”
Ariel Castro, 52, has pleaded not guilty to 329 counts in an indictment that covers August, 2002, when the first victim disappeared, to February, 2007. More charges could be filed in the case cracked May 6 when one woman escaped Castro’s house, leading to the rescue of the other two.
Mr. DeWine said results of the evidence review would be turned over to Cleveland police.
Police referred questions to the office of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, who is directing a grand jury investigation. A spokesman for Mr. McGinty said in an email “there is nothing further to report” on the case.
Castro was indicted on 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felonious assault and one count of possession of criminal tools.
The indictment alleges Castro held the women captive, sometimes chaining them to a pole in a basement, to a bedroom heater or inside a van. It says one of the women tried to escape and he assaulted her with a vacuum cord around her neck.
Castro has been held on $8 million bail and has turned down media interview requests.
He was arrested shortly after one of the women broke through a door and yelled to neighbors for help.
She told a police dispatcher in a dramatic 911 call: “I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for 10 years, and I’m, I’m here, I’m free now.”