Experts: Ariel Castro's death was suicide

NEED TO KNOW
  • Cleveland kidnapper served little more than a month of his life sentence before hanging himself in his prison cell
  • Earlier report said Ariel Castro was found with pants and underwear around his ankles
  • Experts determine he didn't die from auto-erotic asphyxiation
Ariel Castro's death was suicide, according to two experts.

Former captive witnessed Castro house demolition

Michelle Knight hands out balloons as Ariel Castro's home is demolished.

Photos: Castro's crimes laid bare in court

Photos: Castro's crimes laid bare in court

Ariel Castro, the man who pleaded guilty to abducting three women and holding them captive in his Cleveland, Ohio, home for about a decade, committed suicide, according to two independent experts who reviewed his death.

Their report, released Tuesday, closes the book on speculation that Castro, who was found hanging in his prison cell with his pants and underwear around his ankles, may have accidentally died from auto-erotic asphyxiation.

A report released by the Ohio State Highway Patrol in October left that door open, saying the finding, while unclear, was taken under consideration for "the possibility of auto-erotic asphyxiation."

Read more: 'I knew Ariel Castro would kill himself'

Castro, 53, pleaded guilty in July to 937 counts, including aggravated murder, kidnapping and rape. He was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 additional years, but killed himself in his prison cell on September 3.

No suicide note was found, but corrections officials did locate a document titled "Informal Complaints," which had not been officially submitted. In the document, Castro complained of being verbally harassed by inmates and prison staff. He also expressed fears about someone tampering with his food.

Read more: Meet the judge who sentenced Ariel Castro

Photographs taken of Castro's cell show he intentionally placed several personal items in certain locations, like a Bible on his bunk left open to a specific passage and family photographs on his desk. All of the items, according to the newly released report, "gave the appearance of a shrine; all seemingly assembled in preparation for death."

Even though staffers of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) failed to make timely rounds on the high-profile inmate, the report says they aren't to blame for Castro's death.

Watch: See Michelle Knight's strength in court

The Ohio DRC released a statement on behalf of its director, Gary Mohr, who has commissioned a review of Ohio's prison suicides: "Director Mohr reviewed the report and while the findings acknowledge the suicides of Billy Slagle and Ariel Castro cannot 'be attributed to the failure of DRC staff,' he is committed to working with the consultants and DRC staff to develop steps to address the recommendations contained within the report."

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