When Ariel Castro agreed to plead guilty to murder and kidnapping -- charges that would theoretically keep him in jail for more than a thousand years -- he won one concession. His life.
On Tuesday, just five weeks into his sentence, the 53-year-old Cleveland kidnapper committed suicide, begging the final question in the bizarre case -- why?
Castro was found hanging in his prison cell at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday. Emergency medical technicians were called to resuscitate him. An hour and a half later, he was pronounced dead at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
In May, Castro was arrested by police for holding three women captive in his home -- Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus. The women had disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004. They escaped when one of them broke through a door and yelled for help.
It's easy to assume any man who would keep three young women locked in his basement dungeon has some mental problems. Experts told the Huffington Post that Castro was, to say the very least, a control freak, who couldn't stand losing a grip on his own fate.
"This is a guy who lived in a very controlled world –- a universe of his own creation and he was master of that universe," Dr. Scott Bonn, a crime expert and assistant professor of sociology at Drew University, told The Huffington Post.
Dr. Maurice Godwin, a criminal forensic psychologist from Fayetteville, NC, described Castro as the "ultimate sadist."
"Sadists are individuals who enjoy having domination and control over others in order for sexual stimulation," Godwin told HuffPost. "Castro engaged in years of sadistic actions with his victims by inflicting humiliation through the use of physical and sexual abuse."
Still, for what reason did he choose to end his life?
Godwin, who has never treated Castro, believes he suffered from borderline personality disorder (BPD), which drove him to take his own life.
"Castro's suicide was impulsive, which is a trait associated with BPD," he said. "He often acted quickly, without thinking about the consequences. For example, the statistics show that one out of ten people with BPD kill themselves. Not to be confused with having empathy for his victims, individuals with BPD have intense negative emotional experiences; they need find anyway to escape it, and for Ariel Castro, death was certainly his escape."
Bonn believes Castro was disconnected from reality and did not fully grasp the situation he was facing at the time he entered into his plea deal.
"He ultimately found the tables had completely turned and he became the prisoner," Bonn said. "His world was over and I think that was too much for him. I think he had a fragile ego and was a complete control freak. There was no longer a reason for him to live. Suicide became his escape from a life of isolation and powerlessness."
Castro's three victims have yet to comment on his death. While their feelings on the subject remain unclear, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty made no bones about his feelings on Castro's suicide.
"These degenerate molesters are cowards ... This man couldn’t take, for even a month, a small portion of what he had dished out for more than a decade," McGinty said in a press release. "Let this be a message to other child kidnappers: There will be a heavy price to pay when you are caught. You won't enjoy the captive side of the bars."
BEFORE YOU GO
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.