Ariel Castro's Death Might Not Have Been From Auto-Erotic Asphyxiation After All

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 3 2013 10:35 AM

Ariel Castro's Death Might Not Have Been From Auto-Erotic Asphyxiation 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 in early September, only weeks after being sentenced to life in prison (plus an additional 1,000 years for good measure). Given he was in protective custody and alone at the time, local officials and nearly everyone else leaped to the seemingly obvious conclusion that Castro's death was almost certainly suicide. The following month, however, a preliminary report from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction suggested a different conclusion, that Castro's death was actually the accidental result of auto-erotic asphyxiation.

Fast forward to today, and we're right back where we started, via the Associated Press:

Two corrections consultants have concluded that Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro committed suicide in his prison cell and didn't die by accidentally killing himself while attempting to achieve a sexual thrill. The nationally regarded consultants rejected a suggestion in a state prisons report last month that Castro's Sept. 3 hanging was not a suicide as originally believed.
The consultants' report released Tuesday says all available evidence, including a shrine-like display in Castro's cell and an increasing tone of frustration in his prison journal, point to suicide. ... Castro was found hanging in his cell from a sheet attached to a window hinge.
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Read more in Slate about the Cleveland kidnapping case, and follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @Slatest team on Twitter.

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

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