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Autoerotic asphyxiation possible in Cleveland kidnapper's death

  • In this Aug. 1, 2013, file photo, Ariel Castro makes a statement in the courtroom during his sentencing for kidnapping three women in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro's death by hanging in his prison cell may not have been suicide after all but an ill-fated attempt to choke himself for a sexual thrill, authorities said in a report issued Thursday.

The report also said two guards falsified logs documenting the number of times they checked on Castro before he died.

Castro, 53, was found hanging from a bedsheet Sept. 3 just weeks into a life sentence after pleading guilty in August to kidnapping three women off the streets, imprisoning them in his home for a decade and repeatedly raping and beating them.

The report, from Ohio's prison system, raised the possibility that Castro died as a result of autoerotic asphyxiation, in which people achieve sexual satisfaction while choking themselves into unconsciousness.

Castro's pants and underwear were around his ankles when he was found, the report said.

He didn't leave a suicide note, a full psychological evaluation had found no sign he was seriously mentally ill or contemplating suicide and investigators could find no reason he would've taken his own life, according to the report.

In fact, the day Castro died, the warden had recommended he serve his time apart from the other inmates, an option Castro expressed interest in, the investigation found.

The findings were forwarded to the Ohio Highway Patrol "for consideration of the possibility of autoerotic asphyxiation," the report said.

The Highway Patrol said it would have no comment pending the release of its own investigation.

Franklin County coroner Jan Gorniak, who classified Castro's death as a suicide last week, said Thursday that her office was never told his pants were down. But she said she stands by her finding of suicide.

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