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5 Shocking Revelations from the Cleveland Kidnapping

New details from the decade-long nightmare reveal a true house of horrors and puzzling police incompetence.

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Ashley Summers went missing in 2007, when she was fourteen, in the same West Side neighborhood where the three women were found alive Monday. Initial reports about the captives’ discovery instilled hope in Summers’ family that she might be among them, but they later realized they were out of luck. Police first  believed she was a runaway, fleeing from her great uncle’s home after a fight. Now, authorities are investigating possible leads that might link her disappearance to Castro.   “Whether it is something we find at the house or someone seeing the stories remembers something, we continue our search for Ashley,” FBI agent Vicki Anderson told The Plain Dealer.

According to Fox 8, Knight told police there was a fourth victim in the home when she kidnapped in 2002:

A source further noted that Knight told police that there was another woman in the home when she got there, but one day she woke up and the woman was gone. There is writing on the wall in the basement which includes the name of a female and says, “Rest In Peace,” but police do not know if that is related to the case at this time.

4. Castro Knew His Victims.

Ariel Castro reportedly knew Amanda Berry, a friend of his daughter, and Gina DeJesus, whose father was a friend. He even pretended to help look for the women he kidnapped when they went missing, the AP reports.

"When we went out to look for Gina, he helped pass out fliers," a community activist who was at the hospital with DeJesus and her family on Monday night told the AP. "You know, he was friends with the family." Another resident said he saw Castro comforting DeJesus' mother at a vigil about a year ago.

5. Family Trauma

The brother-in-law of Castro’s ex-wife says Ariel regularly abused his former partner, and even suspects that the abuse may have led to her death:  “I believe he murdered my sister,” Jose Figueroa told the Daily Mail, “He abused her for years. She had multiple instances of serious head trauma and it created a brain tumor in her head. My sister was in hell living with him.”

Another harrowing revelation about the Castro family is that Emily Castro, Ariel’s daughter, is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for slashing her 11-month-old daughter’s throat in 2007. She then sliced her own neck and wrists before attempting to drown herself in a creek. Court records indicate she was diagnosed with manic depression at thirteen. But before we cast her as another villain in the Castro clan, remember that we know little about the abuse she may, too, have suffered at the hands of her father.

Berry, DeJesus, and Knight have all been released from the hospital and returned to their families. The three brothers living in the home have been arrested, but not yet formally charged. 

Kristen Gwynne is an associate editor and drug policy reporter at AlterNet.  Follow her on Twitter: @KristenGwynne

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