DNA test shows captor fathered girl, Ohio AG's office says

CNN
Friday, May 10, 2013 - 1:01pm

DNA tests confirm that Ariel Castro is the father of a 6-year-old girl born to one of the three women he is accused of keeping in captivity for close to a decade, the Ohio attorney general's office said Friday.

Castro's DNA did not match that from any other open Ohio cases, according to Dan Tierney, a spokesman for the attorney general's office. National results are pending through the FBI, he said.

Amanda Berry's 6-year-old daughter was among those rescued Monday when Berry escaped from the home where police say she had been held since Castro allegedly lured her into his car on April 21, 2003.

Also freed: Michelle Knight, who disappeared in 2002, and Georgina "Gina" DeJesus, who vanished in 2004.

Berry had identified Castro as the father.

A judge ordered Castro held Thursday on $8 million bond on kidnapping and rape charges.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said he would seek additional charges against Castro for "each and every act of sexual violence, each day of kidnapping, all his attempted murders and each act of aggravated murder."

The attempted and aggravated murders refer to instances in which Castro allegedly forced miscarriages, according to McGinty.

According to an initial incident report obtained by CNN, Knight told investigators immediately after she was freed that she had become pregnant at least five times while in captivity, and that Castro repeatedly starved and punched her in the stomach to induce a miscarriage.

Prosecutors are trying to determine whether he would be eligible for the death penalty.

Meanwhile, new questions have emerged about how authorities handled the search for Knight, whose disappearance generated far less publicity and attention than did those of Berry and DeJesus.

The Plain Dealer newspaper reported Friday that Cleveland police removed Knight's name from an FBI database of missing people 15 months after her family reported her missing.

The newspaper report questioned whether police had erred in removing her from the list without visiting in person to verify that she was still missing.

But the city said in statement released Friday afternoon that the department's procedures call for visitation only in the event a missing person is reported found. If authorities can't reach a relative to confirm a person is still missing, the city's policy is to remove the person's name from the database, according to the statement.

Cleveland police have been subject to intense criticism from some quarters over their handling of missing persons cases, but city officials have said they did everything they could to find the missing women.

In Friday's statement, city officials said police checked on Knight's case in November.

Knight has been discharged from Cleveland's MetroHealth Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Tina Shaerban-Arundel said Friday. Berry and DeJesus were released days ago and are now staying with relatives.

"Michelle Knight is in good spirits and would like the community to know that she is extremely grateful for the outpouring of flowers and gifts," the hospital said in a Facebook posting Friday. "She is especially thankful for the Cleveland Courage Fund. She asks that everyone please continue to respect her privacy at this time."

The Cleveland Courage Fund is an effort to raise money that will help nonprofit organizations provide services to the three women.

According to the initial report, the women told investigators that they were chained in the basement of the home, but later moved upstairs to rooms on the second floor. They were allowed out of the home only twice, and then just briefly, according to the document.

Castro would frequently test the women by pretending to leave and then discipline any of them if they had moved, according to a law enforcement source.

Castro has confessed to some of the allegations, a law enforcement source closely involved with the investigation told CNN on Thursday.

Authorities have also been reviewing a lengthy document described by a law enforcement source as "more of a diary" in which the source said Castro cites being abused by family members as justification for his actions.

-- CNN's Pamela Brown, Kristen Kiraly and Greg Botelho contributed to this report.

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