Did Ariel Castro Die From Auto-Erotic Asphyxiation? New Evidence Suggests He May Have.

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 10 2013 11:46 AM

Ariel Castro's Death Might Not Have Been a Suicide After All

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Ariel Castro pleads to Judge Michael Russo during his sentencing on August 1, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio.

File photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images

Convicted kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro was found hanging in his cell early last month, only weeks after being sentenced to life in prison (plus an additional 1,000 years). Given he was in protective custody and alone at the time, local officials and and nearly everyone else leaped to the seemingly obvious conclusion that Castro's death was almost certainly suicide. Turns out, however, there's some evidence to suggest that may not have been the case. The Associated Press with the details:

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Ariel Castro may have died from auto-erotic asphyxiation, not suicide, and two prison guards falsified logs documenting their observation of him in the hours before he died, the state said Thursday.
Castro's pants and underwear were pulled down to his ankles when he was found, leading the state to forward those facts to the state highway patrol to consider the possibility of auto-erotic asphyxiation, according to the report from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. The report suggests — but does not conclude — that Castro may have died as the result of auto-erotic asphyxiation, whereby individuals achieve sexual satisfaction by briefly choking themselves into unconsciousness.
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Supporting the idea that Castro's death was accidental was the lack of a suicide note, along with a comprehensive mental health evaluation that found "no evidence of serious mental illness or indications for suicide precautions were present.". Read the full AP story here. Slate's Crime blog will have more on the development shortly. (In the meantime, you can check out this 2009 Slate Explainer on auto-erotic asphyxiation, which includes this PSA gem: "There is no doctor-approved way to strangle yourself while having sex or while masturbating.)

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