CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) –
In less than one hour, Ariel Castro’s Seymour Avenue house was reduced to a pile of rubble.
As the last part of the house fell to the ground, a church on the corner of Seymour rang its bells to mark the demolition and healing for the survivors.
Family members say the women hope “the monster” was watching the demolition of his house in prison.
Survivor Michelle Knight came to watch the demolition in person.
She arrived with yellow balloons. She handed them out to neighbors and then in a show of solidarity, they released them together.
Gina DeJesus’ aunt, Peggy Arida, was inside the excavator and delivered the first blow to take Castro’s house down.
When the first strike was delivered, the gathered crowd erupted in cheers.
As Arida got out of the excavator, she hugged Gina’s mother, Nancy Ruiz. Several members of Gina’s family were on Seymour to watch the demolition, but not Gina.
Castro was sentenced to life in prison, plus 1,000 years, for kidnapping and sexually assaulting Amanda Berry, Knight and DeJesus while holding them captive in his Seymour Avenue house for over a decade.
As part of Castro’s plea agreement, his west side Cleveland house was to be torn down.
19 Action News has learned the $22K found in Castro’s dryer was offered to the women as restitution. The women refused to take the money, and insisted it go back to the community.
The county now has title to two abandoned houses next to Castro’s. Once asbestos inspections are complete, they’ll come down, too and a tribute of some kind will be erected in a park-like setting.
Article and Pictures Courtesy of WOIO 19 Action News