Ariel Castro's son carries the burden of a name and suffers the sins of his father
By Phillip Morris, The Plain Dealer September 20, 2013
That’s when the son’s heart sank. That’s when Ariel Castro, the son, said he understood that his father, his namesake, had been unmasked as something far worse than he could have ever imagined.
That’s when he began to have flashbacks. He remembered as a boy also running out of the house to get help for his mother who was being beaten, yet again.
He suddenly remembered making a similar emergency call to Cleveland police 20 years earlier, when Castro inflicted a savage Christmas Day beating on Grimilda "Nilda" Figueroa, two months after she had come home from brain surgery.
"When I heard Amanda Berry’s voice … when I heard her say his name, I knew that he was guilty. I mean who would make that up? Who would come up with a name like Ariel Castro or invent that kind of story?"
Since that fateful day in May, Castro’s life has been a continuing series of painfully-refreshed childhood memories and haunting questions. He continues to recall incidents and behaviors that long foreshadowed his father’s crimes.
"My father was always very secretive. Growing up on Seymour Avenue there were parts of the house we weren’t allowed in. He kept a lock on the attic and on the basement door, on the garage. He nailed the windows shut. It didn’t seem so weird at the time."
But now that the three captive women are free, now that the elder Castro is dead, having hung himself one month into his life sentence, sordid truths about his possessive and savage nature are being revealed.
Up until Nilda Figueroa found the strength to finally leave Seymour Avenue with young Ariel and the couple’s three daughters in tow, Castro, whom she never married, would often lock her in the house when he was away.
Because of his own jealousies, he would literally incarcerate her, making wild, ungrounded accusations alleging infidelity to justify her home detention. She was his first prisoner.
The son says he now understands that his mother, who died in 2012 in Indiana, stayed with Castro as long as she could out of fear for her life. But she also stayed out of loyalty and compassion for her children.
Memories of the fear he often felt as a boy, whenever his father’s car pulled into the Seymour Avenue driveway at night have returned – a daily homecoming fear that he says he suspects Gina, Amanda, and Michelle undoubtedly confronted for the better part of a decade.
He remembers now how fiercely he determined as a young boy not to become anything like his father....
Perhaps there is sociopathic irony in the fact that Castro took three girls captive. Before Nilda left with their three daughters in the late 90’s, Castro reportedly doted on his girls – while heaping regular physical abuse on the son and the mother....
"When my father used to beat me, he would sometimes tell me how fortunate I was to have a father. He always said he didn’t have one. But the whole time, I would be thinking, ‘I wish I didn’t have one either.’ "....
Ariel Castro's son struggles to remember the father he never really knew: Ariel Anthony Castro
By Special to The Plain Dealer on September 21, 2013
The last time I saw my father was about five months ago. I was in Cleveland for the weekend, and he asked me to stop by his house before I hit the road back to Columbus.
When I pulled up, he poked his head out from the back of the house and waved me to the backyard. I remember commenting to him that another of the neighboring houses looked freshly boarded up, and we recalled memories of my childhood friends who lived there decades ago. Today, the houses themselves are just memories, and so is my father, Ariel Castro.
I'm still shell-shocked from the way these past several months unfolded. Instantly, my father became one of the most hated men alive. In no time, reporters from around the world demanded to know who this man was and what kind of background he came from. Just like that, my father went from captured to convicted to imprisoned to dead....
Ariel Castro's son: 'I am not my father and I can't explain his actions' 9/23/13
By Chris Francescani, Reuters
The son of Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro has described in detail the overwhelming horror he felt when his father's crimes were revealed to the world.
"I'm still shell-shocked from the way these past several months unfolded," Ariel Anthony Castro wrote in an essay published late on Saturday in the Cleveland Plain Dealer....
"I was horrified and disgusted and angered when I got the news of the unthinkable crimes my father committed," he said.
"I still am. He deserved to pay for his actions, everyday of those 1,000 years he could possibly serve. My anger with him kept me from visiting him in prison, even when he was moved to a facility just 20 minutes away from my doorstep."
Still, Castro said he does not hate his father.
"I learned long ago that it's not worth the effort to actively hate someone who will always be in your life."
Castro's mother died a year ago. "Both of my parents are gone now, and my father's punishment is between he and his Maker. Hate isn't going to do anyone any good."