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Alia E. Dastagir, USA TODAY

The family of Ariel Castro had a history of violence and discord even before he and his two brothers became prime suspects in the abductions of three Ohio women who vanished a decade ago.

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were found Monday at Ariel's rundown house on Cleveland's west side. All three brothers were being held on suspicion of rape and kidnapping.

As Cleveland police face questions about how the girls were abducted, how they were held captive and how they could have been hidden for so many years in the same neighborhood where they vanished, sordid details are beginning to emerge about the Castro family.

Ariel, 52, owned the home on Seymour Avenue where the women were found. Neighbors, friends and family were stunned by the arrest of Castro, a local musician and former school bus driver who gave neighborhood children rides on his motorcycle. But Castro appears to have expertly hidden a darker side.

Records show Ariel was arrested for domestic violence in 1993, but that a grand jury declined to indict him.

In 2005, a woman who had three children with Ariel Castro accused him of severely beating her and repeatedly threatening to kill her and her children, according to court records obtained by WKYC-TV.

Grimilda Figueroa, the mother of Castro's children, alleged that he had broken her nose twice, broken her ribs, knocked out a tooth, caused a blood clot on her brain that caused an inoperable tumor, and dislocated her shoulder twice.

Castro also threatened to kill Figueroa and her two daughters, the file noted. The case was later dropped because Figueroa's attorney did not appear for a hearing, records show.

One of Castro's daughters has a sobering criminal record of her own: Emily Castro is serving 25 years in prison for attempting to murder her infant daughter.

Court records indicate Emily moved to Fort Wayne, Ind., with her boyfriend, Deangelo Gonzalez, where she had a baby girl.

Emily Castro suffered from manic depression diagnosed when she was 13, the court record says. On April 4, 2007, a day after her boyfriend moved out, Castro, then 19, allegedly slashed the 11-month-old's throat four times, cut her own neck and wrists and then attempted to drown herself in a nearby creek.
In an appeal filed Nov. 5, 2008, in Indiana, her attorneys argued that Castro was not competent to stand trial and that she was not sane at the time of the crime.

In a 2008 article, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported that Ariel Castro's son, Ariel "Anthony" Castro, Emily's brother, asked the judge to show his sister leniency.

He said his sister's mental illness "was something the family saw every day," the newspaper reported.

Separately, and in an odd twist, Anthony Castro wrote an article for a community newspaper in Cleveland about how DeJesus' disappearance had changed the neighborhood, weeks after her disappearance. Ariel was reportedly friends with DeJesus' father.
"(I)t's difficult to go any length of time without seeing Gina's picture on telephone poles, in windows, or on cars along the busy streets," wrote Anthony, who studied journalism at Bowling Green State University.

Little is known about Pedro Castro, 52, and Onil Castro, 50.

Lucy Roman lives next to a house she said is shared by Pedro Castro and his mother. She said police arrested him Monday night.

"I feel sorry for her," Roman said of the mother. "She's a very nice lady."

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