Man who held women captive found dead

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The man who held three women captive in his home for nearly a decade before one escaped has been found dead and is believed to have committed suicide, a prison official said.

Ariel Castro, 53, was found hanging in his cell around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday at the Correctional Re

ception Center in Orient, a community located south of Columbus in central Ohio, JoEllen Smith, Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokesman, said early Wednesday.

Prison medical staff performed CPR before Castro was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

He was in protective custody because of the notoriety of his case, meaning he was checked every 30 minutes, but was not on suicide watch, Smith said.

Messages left for his attorneys were not immediately returned.

The three women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. They escaped May 6, when one broke part of a door and yelled to neighbors for help. Castro was arrested that evening.

He was sentenced Aug. 1 to life in prison plus 1,000 years on his guilty plea to 937 counts.