CLEVELAND - Ariel Castro, the 52-year-old former school bus driver who owned the Cleveland home where three women were held captive for almost a decade, was arraigned Thursday on charges of four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.
Dressed in a dark blue jail uniform, but throughout most of the proceedings held his hands clasped below his waist and stared at the floor.
The court ordered him held on $6 million bond.
It was Castro's first hearing since Amanda Berry's screams on Monday alerted neighbors, then the police, then the world to the nightmare she and two other victims -- Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight -- have endured at the hands of a sadistic captor.
In charging documents filed late Wednesday, prosecutors asked for high bail, arguing that Castro allegedly committed particularly grievous crimes and to protect the community from a dangerous person.
"Ariel Castro did sexually assault these women repeated during their entire course of captivity," the documents said.
Knight, now 32, remains in a Cleveland hospital. But Berry, 27, and DeJesus, 23, returned to their Cleveland homes earlier Wednesday for their first time in almost 10 years, where they were surrounded by family and friends.
The kidnapping charges include Barry's 6-year-old daughter, Jocelyn, who was conceived and born in the house on the city's west side. DNA tests are being conducted to determine the child's father.
Castro's two brothers, Pedro and Onil Castro, who were also arrested Monday when the victims were freed, will not be charged with any crime in the case. Cleveland prosecutor Victor Perez said there was no evidence they were involved in the crime or had any knowledge of it.
As prosecutors finalized formal charges, some grim details have emerged from an initial police report on what went on inside the house at 2207 Seymour Avenue on Cleveland's west side.
The victims have told investigators similar stories of being abducted by Castro after he offered them a ride home from school or work.
The report, obtained by Cleveland TV station WKYC, sketches the outlines of the victims' descent into hell. It is rife with details of beatings, chained confinement, starvation and death threats.
It alleges that Castro impregnated Knight five times, forced her to starve for weeks at a time and punched her in the stomach until she miscarried. Castro, the report said, also forced Knight to deliver Berry's baby in a plastic kiddie pool and threatened to murder Knight if the newborn died.
As the victims settled into their sudden freedom, Nancy Ruiz, DeJesus' mother, thanked those who had helped the family over the past nine years.
"Even the ones that doubted, I want to thank them the most," she said. "They're the ones that made me stronger, the ones that made me feel the most that my daughter was out there."
Gina's aunt, Sandra Ruiz, called on friends, relatives and the media "to give us time and privacy to heal."
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