Ariel Castro died of auto-erotic asphyxiation?

Cleveland kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years for holding three women captive and treating them like sex slaves for a decade.

AFP| Updated: Oct 11, 2013, 11:31 AM IST

Chicago: The sordid tale of Cleveland kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro took another lurid turn on Thursday when officials said his death may have been caused by auto-erotic asphyxiation.

Castro, 53, died in September -- a month after he was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years for holding three women captive and treating them like sex slaves for a decade.

It was an abrupt ending to a sordid case that shocked the United States and the world with revelations of depravity and brutality carried out in an ordinary Cleveland home.

Details of his death, previously thought to be suicide, were released in a report with the results of an Ohio state prison internal investigation.

Castro was found hanging from a hinge in the window of his cell by a sheet wrapped around his neck with his pants and underwear pulled down to his ankles.

"The relevance of this finding is unclear," the report concluded, adding that the details were "relayed to the Ohio State Highway Patrol for consideration of the possibility of auto-erotic asphyxiation."

Castro had left no note and given no indication of suicidal tendencies, the report noted, adding that "no other immediate observations about the scene led to conclusions about the motivation for the self-inflicted death."

The investigation also found that prison guards failed to check on Castro every 30 minutes -- as required by his special circumstances -- and falsified their logs.

However, video surveillance cameras showed that guards performed the required check at 8:45 pm and again at 9:15 pm when he was found hanged in his cell.

Castro`s crimes -- committed when he imprisoned the women in a so-called `house of horrors` -- led to an outpouring of national pity for the three victims, Amanda Berry, now 27; Gina DeJesus, 23; and Michelle Knight, 32.

They were abducted separately between 2002 and 2004 at the ages of 14, 16, and 20 and held captive in a working class neighbourhood of Cleveland.