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Published: 5/7/2013 - Updated: 11 months ago

Neighbors react with shock to arrests of 3 brothers in Cleveland kidnapping case

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Neighbors of the Cleveland house where the three women were held for a decade were in disbelief today that such an incident had occurred. Neighbors of the Cleveland house where the three women were held for a decade were in disbelief today that such an incident had occurred.
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CLEVELAND -- Almost 24 hours after three women, who were missing for a decade or more, were found on Cleveland's west side, neighbors are still in disbelief.

Neighbors and media -- from near and far -- overwhelmed the usually quiet neighborhood.

One of the suspects in the case, Ariel Castro, 52, who owns the home where the women were found, seemed like "an awesome guy" who "put on a perfect mask for his monster," said Juan Perez, 27.

Juan Perez, a neighbor, said he has known Ariel Castro for 22 years.  Juan Perez, a neighbor, said he has known Ariel Castro for 22 years.
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Mr. Perez said he's known Mr. Castro as a neighborhood father figure for 22 years.

He never heard or saw any of the women -- Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, or Gina DeJesus -- or a 6-year-old girl who was also found in the house.

The girl is believed to be the daughter of Ms. Berry.

The home on Seymour Avenue is still being searched by the FBI. Police crime scene tape surrounds the home, and deputies from the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office are scattered about the immediate area.

RELATED ARTICLE: Son of Ariel Castro was a BGSU student; wrote paper on missing Gina DeJesus

RELATED ARTICLE: Frantic 911 call leads to 3 women, missing for a decade

 Julio Castro, uncle of the suspects, said he hasn't seen Ariel Castro in five or six years. He called the kidnapping incident 'terrible.' Julio Castro, uncle of the suspects, said he hasn't seen Ariel Castro in five or six years. He called the kidnapping incident 'terrible.'
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Julio Castro, an uncle of the suspects, said he hasn't seen Ariel Castro in five or six years. The other suspects who have been arrested are Pedro Castro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50, identified as brothers of Ariel Castro.

Mr. Castro said had no idea his nephews were allegedly involved with the kidnapping of the women.

"It's terrible," said Julio Castro, who owns and operates a nearby convenience store. "Shameful."

To his nephews he would say, "Shame on you."

People from all sides of Cleveland seemed to make their way to Seymour Avenue today just to see the scene for themselves.

Many said they stopped during their lunch breaks.

Santa Ocana, 57, lived in the house next to Ariel Castro's home in the 1970s. She moved away before he moved in, but knows him from his uncle's store, the neighborhood, and a band he used to play with.

"I can't believe it. People are not like they seem," she said. "You see their faces, but not their hearts."



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