Ariel Castro, sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping, beating and raping three women from Cleveland, was found dead in his Ohio prison cell Tuesday night, according to state corrections officials.
The 53-year-old was found hanging in his cell by a prison guard who was conducting rounds at the facility.
Corrections spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said, "Inmate Ariel Castro was found hanging in his cell this evening at 9:20 p.m. at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient. He was housed in protective custody which means he was in a cell by himself and rounds are required every 30 minutes at staggered intervals."
The staff tried to resuscitate him before he was taken to Ohio State University Medical Center, where the inmate was pronounced dead at 10:52 p.m.
He pleaded guilty to 937 criminal counts and was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years without the possibility of parole on August 1. Castro was in protective custody-- isolation from the general prison population at the time of his suicide..
Victims Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus were freed from the house on May 6 with the assistance of a neighbor. The three women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004.
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