Not unlike the three women he’s accused of having held captive for a decade, Ariel Castro frequently beat his ex-wife, played mind games with her, and locked her inside his Cleveland home, according to several relatives of Grimalda Figueroa. Castro’s ex-common law wife and the mother of his children died last year—but not before breaking free from the clutches of a man her family members called a “monster.” “I told her, ‘You stay there until I get you out,” Elida Carabello, Figueroa’s sister, told the AP, recalling an incident in which Castro once closed her into a cardboard box. “That’s when I ran downstairs to get my parents.” The brutal treatment Castro allegedly inflicted on Figueroa contradicts the “Average Joe” picture painted by his own family and friends, but lines up perfectly with the horrible crimes he’s accused of committing against Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, and Gina DeJesus.
DARK PAST Ariel Castro in court on Thursday. (Tony Dejak/AP)