The Herald Bulletin

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September 7, 2013

In video, Ohio kidnapper says police missed chance in 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A man who held three women for a decade in his Cleveland home said authorities missed an opportunity to catch him in 2004, because his picture should have been captured by a school security camera minutes before he abducted one of his victims, according to interrogation videotapes that became public Friday.

In the video, deceased kidnapper Ariel Castro says cameras outside Gina DeJesus' school should have captured him there 15 minutes before the then-14-year-old girl was abducted.

"You could have broke the case right then and there," Castro told police during a recorded interview that was obtained by NBC and first reported Friday on the "Today" show.

Cleveland police did not respond to requests for comment regarding Castro's claim that there was a missed opportunity to catch him after DeJesus disappeared.

The recording shows the former school-bus driver eating a slice of pizza and later pacing the room during a reportedly four-hour interrogation in which he told police he had used victim Amanda Berry's cell phone to call her mother and say she was alive.

"I think I said something ... that I have her daughter and that she's OK, and that she's my wife now — something like that, you know, probably not the exact words," he told investigators.

Castro also describes what he considered a close call: a girlfriend spotted a television on in a room occupied by victim Michelle Knight. Castro told police that made him think he might be caught.

Castro, 53, was a month into his life sentence when he hanged himself in his prison cell Tuesday night. A funeral home picked up his body Friday from the Franklin County Coroner's office on behalf of Castro's family.

In the recording of his interrogation following his May arrest, Castro, handcuffed and dressed in dark clothes, is asked about suicidal thoughts. A search of Castro's home had turned up a 2004 confession note in which he wrote he wanted "to put an end" to his life.

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