Cleveland kidnapping and rape suspect Ariel Castro, 52, has a number of relatives who still live in his native Puerto Rico. The Ohio man is accused of holding three young women hostage in his Ohio home, and raping them multiple times. His brothers, Pedro and Onil, who were arrested along with Ariel Castro, were not charged in the incident.
News of the savage allegations stunned family members in the United States commonwealth. Aida Castro, a cousin of Ariel's in the family's hometown of Duey, P.R., told the New York Daily News that she had no idea why Castro allegedly committed the crimes. "We don't know what kind of demon he had in him to do what he did." Aida Castro said.
Another cousin, Javier Castro, said he wished he was not related to the kidnapping suspect. "We are good people," Javier said, referring to his family, "even if he is evil."
The Daily News also reported that Castro's mother Lillian separated from his father Pedro while Ariel and his brothers were young. "Maybe [the split] messed up Ariel," countered family friend Hilberto Caraballo.
Pedro Castro Sr. reportedly remained in Puerto Rico while Lillian and the children settled near the city of Reading, Pa., near Lancaster. A cousin, who only gave the Berks County paper The Reading Eagle her last name of Rodriguez, admitted Ariel was her first cousin. "Lillian didn't raise Ariel this way," Ms. Rodriguez said.
The Castro family reportedly left their home near North 2nd & Buttonwood Streets in Reading, and were reportedly part of one of the first Hispanic families to settle in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Plain Dealer reported that an uncle of Ariel's, Edwin Castro, opened the first Latino record store in the Great Lakes city in the late 1970s. Another uncle, Julio Castro, was reportedly the first to relocate to Cleveland from Yauco, P.R. in the 1950s. The leader of the Hispanic Roundtable, a pro-Latino civic group in Cleveland, said that Julio and his business, a grocery store, "has helped more Hispanic families than the welfare department."
Feliciano said that Julio, or "Cesi" as he is known by, would reportedly be "devastated" over the news of Ariel Castro's arrest.