Lights out at Castro's Seymour Avenue; demolition slated for Wednesday

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Lights out at Castro’s Seymour Avenue; demolition slated for Wednesday

August 5, 2013 [Cory Shaffer,]

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The lights have gone out on the home where Ariel Castro kept Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight locked away for more than a decade.

And soon, that home will be no more.

Cleveland Public Power workers Monday cut electricity to the home at 2207 Seymour Ave., hours after Castro’s friends and family removed personal items from inside, including musical instruments and photographs.

The Cuyahoga Land Bank acquired the home early last week, and plans to demolish the home Wednesday, President Gus Frangos said.

“We’re pretty well situated for Wednesday,” Frangos said.

Frangos said he’s been working with Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty’s office as well as law enforcement and city officials to finalize plans for the home’s demise since the Land Bank acquired it last week.

Frangos said the contractor, whom he said he could not name, is tearing down the home at no cost. There are two more vacant homes next to Castro’s home that could be demolished soon, Frangos said.

Last week, prosecutors in Castro’s sentencing detailed the horrors that the 53 year old subjected the three women to inside the home, with homemade alarm systems, chains and bedroom doors with no knobs.

But what’s replacing the home – yet another Cleveland residence that will be remembered for the harrowing crimes that happened inside – is being kept under wraps for now.

Ward 14 City Councilman Brian Cummins said he and others working on post-demolition plans for the site were on a “media blackout,” and could not disclose any possible plans.

But he did say he’s working with the Land Bank, law enforcement, local development corporations and McGinty’s office to devise a plan that everyone can be happy with.

“We’re trying to be very thoughtful as to what goes in there,” Cummins said.

The house has remained under 24-hour surveillance since the three women freed themselves from the home on May 6, and will until it’s torn down, Frangos said.

Police sources said most of the items removed Monday were personal items left over after investigators collected evidence.

“Amanda wanted the pictures from the little girl,” the officer said, referring to those drawn by the 6-year-old daughter Castro fathered with Berry.

Castro will spend the rest of his life in prison, after he was sentenced to life without parole, plus 1,000 years after he pleaded guilty to hundreds of counts of rape and kidnapping late last month, as well as to two counts of aggravated murder.

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