Google Maps Blurred The House Owned By Kidnapper And Rapist Ariel Castro


It was in nobody's mind that a house in 2207 Seymour Avenue, Tremont, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., was the witness of one of the most brutal kidnapping incidents the world has ever seen.

At that location, was a house owned by Ariel Castro, in which he bought it in 1992.

The two-story house was a 130m2 residence with four bedrooms, one bathroom, two porches, an attic and a detached garage.

Sitting on a 71m2 basement, since Castro moved in, the house had seen domestic violence for numerous times. It was in 1993 that Castro was first arrested. Castro however, was not indicted by a grand jury.

Castro who said "I'm not a monster. I'm sick," led him to a series of kidnappings that happened for years.

And it was at that 2207 Seymour Avenue house, that Castro placed his kidnapped victims, and made them experience inhumanly conditions.

Castro was so immoral than even Google considered his house "objectionable."

Ariel Castro's house
Ariel Castro's house.

It all started in 2002.

Michelle Knight, born April 23, 1981, disappeared on August 23, after leaving her cousin's house. She was 21 years old at the time.

The authorities didn't spend many of their time and resources to find her, considering that she was already an adult. At first, the police who were informed of her disappearance, believed that she had run away voluntarily due to anger over losing custody of her son.

The next victim, was Amanda Marie Berry.

Born on April 22, 1986, she disappeared on April 21, 2003, the day before her 17th birthday. According to reports, she was on her way home from Burger King, before Castro kidnapped her.

And lastly, Castro also kidnapped Gina DeJesus. Born on February 13, 1990, the girl who was only 14 at the time.

She was kidnapped when she was on the way home from her middle school.

Castro kidnapped his victims, luring them by offering them a ride.

He then drove each and everyone of them to his home at 2207 Seymour Avenue, located in Cleveland's residential Tremont neighborhood. He then took them into his basement, and then restrained them.

Inside the basement, the three experienced their hands and feet tied together, with Castro pulling them up using their hands, feet or neck.

The three were also left for days without food.

Ariel Castro's victims.
(left-right) Berry, DeJesus and Knight, prior to their abductions.

According to prosecutors at Castro's sentencing, diaries kept by the women "speak of forced sexual conduct, of being locked in a dark room, of anticipating the next session of abuse, of the dreams of someday escaping and being reunited with family, of being chained to a wall, of being held like a prisoner of war, of missing the lives they once enjoyed, of emotional abuse, of his threats to kill, of being treated like an animal, of continuous abuse, and of desiring freedom".

The women were also kept upstairs in locked bedrooms, where they use plastic toilets, and only allowed to shower twice a week at most.

The abuse didn't stop just there.

Knight, Berry and DeJesus also experienced frequent beating, either by Castro's bare hands, or with items like dumbbells. They were also slammed against the wall.

Knight was said to have required facial reconstruction, and has lost hearing at one of her ears due to the beatings she endured.

Both Knight and Berry were impregnated.

Knight was impregnated at least five times, but experienced miscarriages due to the tortures she suffered. As for Berry, she delivered her baby, named Jocelyn. Castro occasionally took Jocelyn out of the house, including to visit his mother, where she called him "daddy" and Castro's mother "grandmother".

As for DeJesus, she was also raped, but denied that she was ever impregnated by Castro.

Ariel Castro
Ariel Castro in court in Cleveland.

Fortunately, the women were rescued when Castro forgot to lock the house as he went to McDonald's. It was Berry who realized this.

But because she was so scared of Castro, she didn't run away, fearing that Castro could be nearby. Instead, she screamed and screamed until one of the neighbors heard her plea.

He was Charles Ramsey, a person living nearby, and was at the time eating a meal inside his home when he heard the desperate cries. Quickly, he came to their rescue. Ramsey was joined by another neighbor, Angel Cardero.

Arriving to Castro's house, the front door was not locked, but the storm door was.

Both Ramsey and Cordero kicked the storm door until Berry and her six year old daughter were able to crawl out. Berry was then able to call 911, and said: “Help me, I’m Amanda Berry … I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for 10 years. And I’m here; I’m free now.”

When the police arrived, they see the neighborhood as normal and nothing out of the ordinary.

But inside, things were different.

When the authorities were dispatched to the house, they found several rooms locked. But a search warrant which allowed them to conduct a more thorough investigation, found duct tapes and chains that were used to restrain the women among other things they refused to disclose.

After the case went public, the location has since been completely blurred out on the street view of Google Maps.

The location at 2208 Seymour Avenue, where Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight where held captive and abused by Ariel Castro for almost a decade, cannot be viewed.

According to a Google spokesperson who declined to comment directly, it's the company's policy on privacy and security in regards to Street View and information on how users can report an "objectionable" image.

"In addition to the automatic blurring of faces and license plates, we will blur the entire car, house, or person when a user makes this request for additional blurring. Users can also request the removal of images that feature inappropriate content (for example: nudity or violence)."

The house was then purchased by the Cuyahoga Land Bank, which wanted to restore property to "productive use."

However, the house where Castro lived and held the women captive, was then demolished.

This was past of Castro's plea bargain.

The demolition happened on August 7, 2013, using a crane. Michelle Knight made a brief appearance and released balloons into the air.

Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts, which included kidnapping and rape, and also murder for "purposely and with prior calculation and design causing the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy."

A judge sentenced him to life in prison without parole and an additional 1,000 years. He was also fined $100,000.

But only one month into his life sentence, Castro was found dead in his detention cell at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, on September 3, 2013.

His lifeless body was found hanging from a bed sheet.

Early reports suggested that Castro's death was a result of auto-erotic asphyxiation that went wrong, rather than suicide.