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Ariel Castro has been charged with rape and kidnapping after three women missing for about a decade were found alive at his home on Monday.

Castro appeared in court Thursday morning, handcuffed. He didn’t speak and looked down the entire time. Bond was set at $2 million on each case.

Neighbor Charles Ramsey heard cries for help and aided their escape this week, leading to the stunning rescue of the girls who vanished from 2002-04.

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The women – Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight – were found alive after a decade in captivity leading lonely, dark lives in a dingy home.

They were routinely raped and allowed outside only a handful of times in disguises while walking to a garage steps away, investigators believe.


Castro, a 52-year-old former school bus driver, has emerged as the lone suspect. His two brothers were also arrested; it is unclear what charges they face.

Many questions remain about how Castro maintained such tight control over the women for so many years before one of them made a daring escape.

The horrors they suffered are beginning to come to light, however.

Police say the women were bound by ropes and chains at times and were kept in different rooms, subjected to prolonged sexual and psychological abuse.

Castro is charged with four counts of kidnapping, covering the captives and a daughter born to Berry, and three counts of rape, against all three women.

Cleveland 19 Action News reporter Scott Taylor says he received a copy of a letter from 2004 that was found in the home, presumably written by Castro.

Says Taylor: “I just got a copy of a letter written by Ariel Castro in 2004. Cops found it in his house. He says ‘I am a sexual predator. I need help.'”

“‘They are here against their will because they made a mistake of getting in a car with a stranger. I don’t know why I kept looking for another. I already had 2 in my possession.’”

Castro writes about wanting to kill himself and “give all the money I saved to my victims,” as well as how he is surprised at how young DeJesus was.