Who is Ariel Castro?

The Globe and Mail

Ariel Castro appears in Cleveland Municipal court Thursday, May 9, 2013, in Cleveland. Castro was charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape after three women missing for about a decade and one of their young daughters were found alive at his home earlier in the week. (Tony Dejak/AP)

After the discovery of three longtime missing women in a Cleveland home – where they are believed to have been held captive for about a decade each – attention has focused on the man accused of abducting them. Here’s a closer look into the tumultuous, sometimes violent life of Ariel Castro:

Ariel Castro, 52

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– Born July 10, 1960, Ariel graduated from Lincoln West High School in 1979. Before he was hired in February, 1991, by the Cleveland Metropolitan School District as a bus driver, he worked as a driver, a drill press operator, and as a bagger at a grocery store, according to his employment application.

– In his application for the job, he wrote “I enjoy working with children. I have a good driving record. I speak English and Spanish. I plan to drive a bus and working (sic) with young people.” He left his school bus unattended for four hours in the fall of 2012. He was officially fired in November, 2012. Records show his home was recommended for foreclosure, with Ariel owing more than $2,500 in unpaid taxes dating back to 2010.

– Ariel was briefly suspended from work in 2004 after he apparently left a student unattended on a bus. According to the student’s complaint in his employment file, instead of taking the child to an ADHD meeting at school, he instead drove to a Wendy's restaurant and told the child to “lay down, bitch” while he went inside to eat. An investigation by Children and Family Services as well as Cleveland Police later found there was“no criminal intent” behind the incident.

– It’s unclear when Ariel and his ex-wife, Grimilda Figueroa, were married, but they separated some time before 1997, when Ms. Figueroa was given custody of the couple’s children. The couple had four children together: Ariel “Anthony”, Emily, Arlene and another sister. Daughter Emily is now in prison for attempting to murder her infant daughter.

– Grimilda Figueroa filed for a domestic violence protection order from Ariel in August, 2005. Ariel had been arrested for domestic violence in 1993, though a grand jury declined to indict him at the time. In the 2005 court records, she claimed Ariel had broken her nose twice, broken her ribs, knocked out a tooth, caused a blood clot on her brain, and dislocated both her shoulders. She also claimed he had threatened to kill her and their daughters on multiple occasions, even after the couple had already separated.

Though Ariel had no visitation rights, she claimed he “frequently abducts daughters,” keeping them from her. Ms. Figueroa also asked the court to require Ariel to attend “batterer counselling” and substance abuse counselling. The petition was later dismissed, after Ms. Figueroa’s lawyer failed to attend court.

– Ariel was well known as a local musician, playing bass guitar at clubs around the city. On his Facebook page, he listed his employer as a merengue band called Grupo Fuego. But the band distanced themselves from him in a statement Tuesday, saying he was only a “sub” and had only played with the group a handful of times.

– He has been the owner of the home on Seymour Avenue since 1992, where the three missing women were found. According to his son Anthony, Ariel didn’t allow visitors inside certain parts of the home. “There were places we could never go,” he told the Daily Mail. “There were locks on the basement. Locks on the attic. Locks on the garage.”

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