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Ariel Castro may have died from auto-erotic asphyxiation, not suicide, report says

A state investigation into Ariel Castro's casts doubt on his official cause of death -- suicide.

By
KATE STANTON, UPI.com

According to a state probe into Ariel Castro's Sept. 3 death, the Cleveland kidnapper hanged himself in a manner that suggests he could have died accidentally by auto-erotic asphyxiation, not suicide, his official cause of death.

Auto-erotic asphyxiation involves the restriction of oxygen to the brain to intensify feelings of sexual arousal or orgasm.

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Ohio's Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said in a review released Thursday that the 54-year-old prisoner was found "hanging from a hinge in the window of his cell by a sheet wrapped around his neck."

His pants and underwear were pulled down to his ankles. The relevance of this finding is unclear. These facts, however, were relayed to the Ohio State Highway Patrol for consideration of the possibility of auto-erotic asphyxiation.

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Castro had also arranged photos of his family members "in a poster-board fashion" and his Bible open to John Chapters 2 and 3.

"There appears to be no known, substantiated motivation for the self-inflicted death," the report added.

Castro previously completed a mental health review which found that “he indicated no current suicidal thoughts or past attempts to hurt himself."

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The review also said that prison guards assigned to Castro failed to complete their required rounds in the hours leading to his death. Those rounds were falsified in the prison logs.

Those two officers, Caleb Ackley, 26, and Ryan Murphy, 27, have already been placed on administrative leave during the ongoing investigation.

The two guards' union said Ackley and Murphy were being treated as “scapegoats” in the incident.

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“Why isn’t DR&C focused on the systemic and more dangerous problems of increased violence, overcrowding or the need for mental health services in our prisons?” said Christopher Mabe, president of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association. “It appears that DR&C is trying to deflect criticism and, ultimately, ignore the real problems at hand.”

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