Alex Witt | May 12, 2013
>>> a xhilg portrait today of the man accused of kidnapping and repeatedly raping three women. according to a new article from "the washington post ," ariel castro had a penchant for salsa music and allegedly beating his exbif. it also says relatives were aware he had a dark side and vicious streak as far back as the early '90s. joining me of the writer of the article. manuel, thanks for joining me.
>> good to see you too.
>>> what disturbed you most?
>> it was chilling, and really heartbreaking to talk to the family of his common-law bif. he would do weird things, like he had a mannequin, and he would jump out and scare the kids with this mannequin that was very realistic and flesh-colored. they came to talk about the house , that infamous house on seymour avenue as the prison house . the prison house . when i heard that, it stopped me in my tracks.
>> what do you think led them to call it that. as far as we know, people were not allowed inside that house much, or does that not included relatives? were 24th allowed.
>> you know, in the years before this abduction took place, sometimes family members would go over there. he was in a long-term relationship with a woman nailed grimilda figure rhoa. he would nail the windows shut, and you got a hint of the psychological abuse , the power playing that he would later be accused of playing with these girls that he had kidnapped. he would do things like leave the house , sneak back into the basement, monitor the phone calls, and if she called anybody, run upstairs and just beat her viciously. so it was a way that he had of controlling women and dom nearing behavior that really foreshadowed what he's accused of now.
>> so the family calling it the prison house , and people seeing this is a guy he's nailing windows shut, boarding -- don't you find it odd that no one suspected anything was going on inside?
>> there are a lot of what-ifs in this case. people knew that he was an abuser. he common-law wife was pushed down the stairs, 14 steps. i walked up those very same steps, very steep. it was awful to stand at the top of the stairs and look down. he dislocated both 6 her shoulders. he broke her ribs. the police were called many, many times, but as with many domestic abuse cases, these things drag on for years and years and years. and ariel castro was able to continue hurting this woman and give us a glimpse of what he is now accused of doing in the present.
>> here allegati's something that was very interesting, the missed clues, code of silence , a unwillingness to point fingers. can you explain that?
>> this was a jaw dropper for me. ariel castro was spotted around the neighborhood with the little girl who we now have learned was the child her fathered with amanda berry. he would walk around the neighborhood openly with her, holding her hand, taking her to the park. i spoke with people who live right by the park, and also wondered, who is this little girl ? where is she? we know he doesn't have a child, but they were either embarrassed or afraid to ask. this sense of not being able to ask the hard questions about what was going on, and a feeling also of mistrust of authorities in that neighborhood. this is a neighborhood that could be very insular at times, and they did not trust the police. often they were dealing with situation internally, and as a result you see what happened -- a horrible situation was allowed to take place for a decade.
>> to say the least. manuel, thank you so much.