Prison guards put on leave after Cleveland kidnapper Castro's suicide

Ariel Castro pleads to Judge Michael Russo during his sentencing on August 1, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. Angelo Merendino / Getty Images

Two prison guards on duty when Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro was found hanged in his cell were placed on paid leave Tuesday as investigators look into the suicide.

The leave does not suggest wrongdoing by the guards, Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman JoEllen Smith told Reuters.


Castro was serving a life sentence plus 1,000 years after pleading guilty in August to more than 900 counts, including kidnapping, rape and murder, after three women and a 6-year-old girl escaped from his Cleveland home on May 6.

Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32, had been missing for as many as 11 years.

Castro, a 53-year-old former school bus driver, was found hanging by a bedsheet in his cell at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, about 9:20 p.m. on Sept. 4 and pronounced dead at Ohio State University Medical Center about an hour and a half later.

Franklin County Coroner Jan Gorniak said the cause of death was suicide by hanging.

Castro's attorney Craig Weintraub said last week that his client was initially placed on suicide watch where he was checked every 30 minutes but was taken off that status.

Two separate state investigations are under way into Castro's death, one by the Ohio State Highway Patrol and another by a review team empaneled by Ohio prison authorities.

The guards, identified as Caleb Ackley, 26, and Ryan Murphy, 27, by The Associated Press, will be on leave until the investigations are completed, Smith said.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.