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Franklin County coroner: Family claiming Castro's body

5:17 PM, Sep 5, 2013   |    comments
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COLUMBUS -- The Franklin County Coroner confirms family members are in the process of claiming Ariel Castro's body.

Family members filed paperwork Thursday to claim the body from the coroner's office. 

Castro died Tuesday night after hanging himself in his prison cell. His death has been ruled a suicide.

Castro, 53, had spent about a month in prison after being sentenced to life plus 1,000 years for holding three women captive for a decade inside his home on Cleveland's Seymour Avenue.

He had pleaded guilty to more than 900 counts of kidnapping and rape on July 26 to avoid a trial and the possibility of a death sentence.

The three survivors -- Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight -- were rescued on May 6 after Berry broke out of the house and ran for help.

The women have declined comment on Castro's death.

The state of Ohio is investigating Castro's suicide. He was being held in protective custody at the Reception Center in Orient. A prison spokesperson says after an evaluation, Castro was not placed on suicide watch.

Castro's protective custody condition kept him in a single cell with security rounds every half hour.

Geauga County Sheriff Dan McClelland allowed Channel 3's Sara Shookman to tour a special watch cell inside the county jail Thursday.

The cell has a bed made on a concrete riser, only about a foot off the ground. The mirror above the sink is made out of a stainless steel, not a breakable glass.

Inmates in the Geagua County Jail on suicide watch aren't given standard supplies like towels, underwear or rolls of toilet paper. Instead the clothing and bedding they're issued uses Velcro and a quilted material that can't be knotted or twisted easily.

"You can take items away from them that they might be able to hurt themselves. You might be able to put them in a special cell that limits the opportunity to do self-harm," said McClelland. "But you need that human interaction. That human observation that can process what they're doing, take a look and go wait a minute this individual is beginning to become more depressed and is beginning to show more signs and the corrections officer can engage that inmate."

The state's reports are due at the end of September.

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