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Courts and Crime

Cleveland abduction suspect was a musician, but may have inflated his claim
Ariel Castro sat in with a band named Grupo Fuego, well known in the Hispanic community back in 2008

Vivian Goodman

One of the three men in police custody in the case of 3 women held for decades in a West Side Cleveland home… calls himself a musician.

Ariel Castro, the owner of the house on Seymour Avenue, has a Facebook Page.

The employer he lists on that page is Grupo Fuego, a Caribbean band well-known in Cleveland’s Hispanic community since 1999.

Cleveland music journalist Peter Chakerian says it’s a good band, but Castro is not part of it:

Chakerian on Ariel Castro

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Chakerian reviewed Grupo Fuego in 2008, the same year band manager Miguel Quinones says Ariel Castro played bass with the group as a freelance musician on only two occasions.

On Grupo Fuego’s Facebook page the band says of Castro, quoting here, “to set the record straight  he is not a member of Grupo Fuego."

Here’s the timeline of the case of three Cleveland women who vanished from their near west-side neighborhood a decade ago and were found Monday in a home some two miles away.

  • Aug. 23, 2002: Michelle Knight disappears from her cousin’s house near W. 106th Street and Lorain Avenue.  She’s legally an adult, and police speculate that she left because she’d lost temporary custody of her son. Her mother never believed that.
  • April 21, 2003: 16-year-old Amanda Berry never returns  from work at a Burger King on Lorain and West 110th Street. Her mother, Louwana Miller, begins a search for her daughter that ends only when the 44-year-old Louwana dies in 2006.
  • January 2004: Ariel Castro is a school bus driver. Police go to his home at 2207 Seymour Ave. after Child and Family Services tells them he had left a child unattended on a bus. Police decide there was no criminal intent.
  • April 2, 2004: Georgina "Gina" DeJesus, 14, disappears while walking home from Wilbur Wright Middle School where she attended special education classes. She’s last seen at the corner of Lorain Avenue and 105th Street.
  • 2005: Police and FBI agents continue the investigation, offering a $20,000 reward for details that lead to discovery of DeJesus or Berry.
  • April 2009: The FBI broadens its investigation to include another girl, 14-year-old Ashley Summers, who had disappeared in 2007.  She later contacts her family.
  • Police also test the DNA on a body found in Wisconsin.
  • January 2013: Convicted killer and inmate Robert Wolford is sentenced to 4 ½ years on of obstruction of justice and other charges. He gave police a false tip that said Berry’s body was buried on a vacant lot in Cleveland. Police spent 18 hours searching the lot.
  • May 6, 2013: Berry breaks through a screen door of the house on Seymour with the help of neighbors and escapes with a 6-year-old girl she identifies on the 9-1-1 call as her daughter. Police respond and find Knight and  DeJesus inside.
  • Three brothers, Ariel Castro, Pedro Castro and Onil Castro, are arrested and police are preparing charges and expecting the case to go to the Cuyahoga County grand jury.
  • May 7, 2013: The women, Berry, now 27; DeJesus, now 23, and Michelle Knight, believed to be 32, are released from MetroHealth Medical Center. 
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