Detective Describes How Castro Lured Girls

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CLEVELAND-  Detective Andrew Harasimchuk, with the Cleveland Division of Police Sex Crimes Child Abuse Unit, described how Ariel Castro lured Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus into his home and into captivity more than 10 years ago.

Det. Harasimchuk told the court during Castro’s sentencing Thursday, that he interviewed the victims at MetroHealth Medical Center hours after they escaped on May 6.

Harasimchuk said the interviews were very brief because it was chaotic in the hospital.

While interviewing Michelle Knight, she revealed what happened the night she was abducted.

Knight told Harasimchuk that she was lost while looking for her social worker regarding an issue with her son.She said Castro offered her a ride. Knight knew Castro’s daughter, Emily, and accepted the ride.

She told the detective Castro lured her into the house with the promise of a puppy.
Harasimchuk said in court Thursday, there was a dog in there, but no puppy. Knight was then restrained inside the home.

In subsequent interviews with Knight, she told Det. Harasimchuk about being pregnant and how Castro terminated the pregnancies by starving her, feeding her rotten food, jumping on her stomach and forcing her to do physical exercises.

Defense suggests that any of Knight’s pregnancies may have been in the first trimester.

Harasimchuk says Knight identified Castro as the perpetrator of the crimes she was victim to throughout her captivity.

When Detective Harasimchuk first interviewd Amanda Berry, she revealed that she was just getting off work at Burger King back in April 2003 when a van drove by with a female inside that she thought she knew.

When the van came back, she got inside because she thought she knew the female, but the female was no longer in there.

Berry told the detective,  Castro asked her if she knew his son who worked at Burger King. He then took her to his house to see his daughter.

Berry revealed that once they arrived at the home on Seymour Avenue, Castro gave Berry a tour of the house. She asked to be taken home. Berry said she tried to run, but was disoriented and ran into a closet.

That’s when she was sexually assaulted.Berry described a repeated pattern of sexual, physical and emotional assault by Ariel Castro during the entire time of captivity, Harasimchuk said.

Berry later became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter, who is now 6 years old.

During her pregnancy, Berry said she received no medical care.

On the day of the escape, Berry was terrified, Harasimchuk says she told him.

Det. Harasimchuk also talked about his initial interview with Gina DeJesus shortly after she was rescued in May.

DeJesus told him she was walking home from school with Castro’s daughter on the day of her abduction back in 2004.

The girls were hoping to make plans with each other but were not given permission, so they parted ways.

Castro later caught up with DeJesus and offered her a ride.

He asked her to carry a speaker into his home. Once inside, she wanted to leave.

Castro told her she had to exit the house through a different door than they entered.

He led her to the basement where he restrained and sexually assaulted her.

Det. Harasimchuk also talked about charges against Castro while on the stand Thursday.

Some of the charges reflect specific incidents of assault as reported by victims or as found through the examination of evidence.

Harasimchuk says he interviewed Castro, visited crime scenes, read reports, examined hundreds of photographs, reviewed hundreds of pieces of evidence, did follow-up interviews, etc.

“It was determined that Ariel Castro, and Ariel Castro alone was involved,” Harasimchuk said.

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