Officials: Castro Used Sheet to Hang Himself

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ORIENT, Ohio -- Ariel Castro was found hanging in his cell and pronounced dead Tuesday night, according to officials with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Castro was being held at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, serving a life in prison sentence for kidnapping and raping Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight and holding them captive for a decade.

According to JoEllen Smith, spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Castro was found hanging in his cell at 9:20 p.m. Tuesday.

State officials confirmed that Castro used a prison sheet to hang himself from his 8 foot by 8 foot cell.  He had been in that single-bunk cell for less than a month and was permitted to have the sheet and hygiene products.

An autopsy done by the Franklin County coroner's office also determined the cause of death was hanging.

Castro had been in protective custody and in the cell by himself.  Guards checked on him every 30 minutes.  Those times are staggered so a prisoner does not know when to expect the guards to arrive.

After finding Castro, prison medical staff began performing life-saving measures. He was taken to Ohio State University Medical Center and pronounced dead at 10:52 p.m.

The Ohio State Patrol says it is investigating the matter.

Had Castro spent 30 years in prison, taxpayers would have paid about $745,000 to house him.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction released the following statement Wednesday afternoon.

Today, Gary Mohr, Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) commissioned a review team to analyze the death of inmate Ariel Castro last night at the Correctional Reception Center (CRC) in Orient.

This review team, chaired by Ed Banks, DRC's Managing Director of Organizational Development, will include professionals from DRC's legal, medical, mental health, security and operational divisions who are knowledgeable of DRC's policies and procedures but who were not directly involved with the incident. Such reviews are part of DRC's protocol in the wake of such incidents. Mohr has requested that it be completed by the end of the month.

This review is in addition to a separate, independent investigation being conducted by the Ohio State Highway Patrol. In addition, pursuant to DRC's protocol, a mortality review has begun by credentialed DRC medical and mental health professionals to thoroughly review all pertinent medical and mental health care records concerning inmate Castro and information surrounding the incident. These professionals will determine whether applicable policies and procedures concerning the delivery of medical and mental health care were followed for inmate Castro.

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