Jack Dunphy has a piece at PJ about Ariel Castro and how ordinary he must have seemed to his neighbors and acquaintances, and how it would have been very difficult to perceive the evil that lurked within.
Although I understand what Dunphy’s referring to—the man’s ordinary demeanor seems to have emanated a kind of general affability that gave no clue to the horrors he perpetrated—I disagree strongly that those who knew him better, or who lived near him, would have had no clues.
Of course, it’s easier to see these things in retrospect; 20/20 hindsight and all that. And there’s no way that, even with these clues, a person would necessarily think he had kidnapped three women and held them captive all those years of torture both physical and psychological.
Dunphy refers to Castro’s house, for example, as an “ordinary looking clapboard home.” But tell me whether you think the back of this house is business-as-usual, even for a pretty sketchy neighborhood such as the one Castro lived in—considering that people knew this house was inhabited and not vacant:
Of course, that’s the back of the house rather than the front. But still, it appears to have been quite visible to neighbors, and it seems at the very least rather suspicious in terms of activity that might be going on in there that the owner didn’t want observed.
Dunphy (an officer with the LAPD) also writes: “And as for those who say the police should have done more to find the women, one must ask: What more could they have done?”
I would submit the following: they might have heeded the suggestion of Fernando Colon, who allegedly fingered Castro as a probable suspect back in 2004 when Georgina de Jesus had first disappeared:
Fernando Colon [boyfriend of Castro's ex-wife Grimilda Figueroa] said that he was intensively interviewed, followed by officers and made to give samples of his DNA following the disappearance of Georgina DeJesus, who was then 14, in 2004.
Ms DeJesus had last been seen walking home from school by her friend Arlene Castro, the youngest daughter of Ariel Castro and Grimilda Figueroa, who had by then left the school bus driver.
Mr Colon, who as Ms Figueroa’s boyfriend was a stepfather figure to Arlene, was suspected by police of being involved with her friend’s disappearance and became the focus of their inquiries.
“Ariel wasn’t investigated at all,” Frank Caraballo, his former brother-in-law, told The Daily Telegraph. “Why was Arlene’s actual father out of the picture? He’s the bus driver, he knows where all these kids go.”
Mr Colon, now 49, claimed to have told his FBI interviewers that Mr Castro was a more likely culprit, but said that his suggestion was totally ignored by investigators.
In addition, Castro’s ex-wife Figueroa and her family members claimed Castro had physically and mentally abused her in very severe and provable ways (multiple physical injuries), systematically, and continually. But the case was dismissed and never pursued again because of legal irregularities involving non-appearances of Castro as well as non-appearance of Figueroa’s attorney.