CLEVELAND -- Tito DeJesus has been friends with Ariel Castro for 20 years. They played in bands together and took road trips for shows. He was one of Castro's better friends, but he'd only been over to Castro's house three times and never off the ground floor.
"Little did I know that Gina and the other 2 girls were there," DeJesus said. "I had no clue. It's not like I was looking for clues, but he never talked about his personal life. He was a loner. Never in the 20 years I knew him, did I see him with a woman. Always alone."
Tito and Ariel played together locally at Belinda's Nightclub, where owner Bill Perez remembers a happy-go-lucky Castro. He said he never drank too much and was frequently late.
"An indication now, when I look back maybe because of what was going on and he had to make sure everything was set. He would let nobody in the house. They'd go pick him up and he'd say wait outside for me," Perez said.
Castro freelanced in several bands, and was considered one of the best bass players around. DeJesus recalls a self conscious person. He said Castro worried about his bald spot and was seldom seen without a hat.
"Suited up, looking young, playing the bass, smiling. Nobody knew at the time that he had these girls in his house. How could you know?" asked DeJesus.