Ariel Castro Revisited

I posted concerns about the circumstances of Ariel Castro’s death while in custody (infra, below my name).

The latest:

Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro’s death by hanging in his prison cell may not have been suicide after all, but an attempt to choke himself for a sexual thrill, authorities saidThursday. They also said two guards falsified logs documenting the number of times they checked on Castro before he died.

I’m really curious to see where they’re going with the autoerotic asphyxiation (I wonder if this will come up in IPD’s kinky sex or paraphilia conference on October 20:Click_Here). 

More on autoerotic asphyxiation:

According to Brent Turvey, M.S., a forensic scientist, criminal profiler and senior partner at Forensic Solutions LLC, the most common form of autoerotic death results from autoerotic asphyxiation. Turvey writes that until fairly recently, literature reflected the belief that autoerotic asphyxia, in particular, was an adolescent male activity, and female devotees of the practice were either extremely rare or nonexistent. These misconceptions are slowly eroding. Although it is mostly a male activity, women do engage in sexual asphyxia. Gosink and Jumbelic (2000) offer a male-to-female ratio of greater than 50:1 (which may well be accurate). Currently, there is no typical or predominant profile of someone who engages in any kind of sexual asphyxia. It is known to be practiced by both sexes and across many cultures going back hundreds of years.

Interpretation of autoerotic asphyxia in death scenes has been particularly problematic for law enforcement and other death scene investigators for several reasons. First of all, there is a lack of information and training on the topic. Secondly, the scene is sometimes altered by well-meaning relatives or significant others who remove pornography or female clothing from a male victim or otherwise alter the scene out of personal embarrassment or the wish to preserve the dignity of the deceased.

The falsification of logs is a matter of grave concern and clear breach of standards of treatment of prisoners (see references I included previously — scroll all the way down). 


Posted 9/4/13:

Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro commits suicide in prison

Spokeswoman JoEllen Smith says 53-year-old Castro was found hanging in his cell around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient. Prison medical staff performed CPR before Castro was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Only three months ago there was a story about an alleged suicide note: 

The suspect in the ghastly abduction of three Cleveland women wrote a suicide note in which he confessed his crimes, yet blamed the victims for being kidnapped, according to reports in CBS News and Cleveland TV station WOIO.

Castro was placed on suicide watch after he was charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape and there was speculation about the possibility that prosecutors would seek the death penalty if extra murder charges were filed.

Castro was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years on August 1, 2013.

The story is just breaking. I’m left wondering as to what sort of precautions — if any — were in effect between August 1 and September 3 while Castro was being held at the Correction Reception Center in Orient, Ohio.


Posted 9/5/13:


A spokeswoman for the corrections system, JoEllen Smith, said that Castro “was housed in protective custody which means he was in a cell by himself and rounds are required every 30 minutes at staggered intervals.”

And Castro’s attorney said, “We expect that the person would be protected when they’re institutionalized, and so there is an obligation on the part of the prisons and I would doubt that the prison officials would dispute that.”

As an FYI, the standard for duty of care to prisoners is high:

The pdf version of the publication, ABA Standards for Criminal Justice:  Treatment of Prisoners, Third Edition © 2011, American Bar Association, is available here:

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