What will become of Ariel Castro’s house of horrors?
For now, the Cleveland home where the 52-year-old former school bus driver allegedly held Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight hostage for a decade, beating them and raping them until they were freed last week, is still considered an active crime scene. The windows and doors have been boarded up (by the same construction crew that shuttered the home of serial killer Anthony Sowell in 2009), and a ten-foot-high chain link fence has been erected around the dilapidated two-story, four-bedroom home on Seymour Avenue.
But even as police continue their investigation, neighbors are anxious for the Castro home to be wiped off the map.
“As a representative of the county, it is my job to understand what the residents want—and this community wants it down,” says Cleveland city councilman Brian Cummins. Of course, he notes, nothing will happen until the criminal case is resolved. “We can’t take it down until it’s cleared for evidentiary purposes.” He says he would also like to get input from the survivors. “I don’t want to make a decision without them,” he says. “Right now we are in total mode to serve their needs.”
Still, there are immediate concerns. Cummins has already heard of at least three threats of arson directed at the property. “It started on the second day” Cummins says, meaning the day after Castro’s alleged crimes were discovered last Monday. “Hopefully they are just peeved.”
Police, however, are keeping tabs on the property with around-the-clock surveillance.
Some neighbors are, too. Elsie Cintron, who lives three doors down, says she and her sons plan on keeping an eye out to ensure the house doesn’t get torched. She wants to see it gone just like everyone else, but she doesn’t want vigilante justice. Plus, she worries that if someone sets the place on fire, the blaze could take out other homes on the block—including that of neighborhood hero Charles Ramsey. “People are talking out of anger because it was under our eyes and no one knew anything,” Cintron says of the threats.
More from The Daily Beast:
- The Revenge of Donna’s Diner
- Could Ariel Castro Be Linked to the 1981 Murder of Tammy Seals?
- ‘I Just Thought He Was Odd’: Neighbors of the Cleveland Kidnapper on What They Saw
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