New evidence is being checked to determine whether there were other victims of accused kidnapper Ariel Castro, shown here at a court hearing.
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 in a phone interview. 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.
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 spokeswoman for 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.”