Ohio - Ariel Castro, sentenced to life in prison for the kidnapping, rape and beatings of three Cleveland women he held captive for years, has been found hanged in his Ohio prison cell.
The former school bus driver, who was under protective custody and isolated from other inmates at the Correctional Reception Centre in Orient, was found dead at about 9:20 p.m on Tuesday when prison staff were making their rounds, Rehabilitation and Correction Department spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said.
After prison medical personnel tried to resuscitate him, Castro, 53, was transferred to an area hospital and pronounced dead about 90 minutes later.
Castro was sentenced on August 1 to life plus 1,000 years in prison without the possibility of parole for abducting and keeping his victims imprisoned in the dungeon-like confines of his house, where they were starved, beaten and sexually assaulted for about a decade.
Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32 - were freed from the house with assistance from neighbours who heard Berry's cries for help.
Rescued along with them was Berry's six-year-old daughter, fathered by Castro and born during her mother's captivity.
Castro pleaded guilty in July to a total of 937 offences, including kidnapping, rape, felonious assault and a charge of aggravated murder under a fetal homicide law for the forcible miscarriage of one of his three victims.
His plea deal with prosecutors spared Castro a possible death penalty for murder.
Castro had been incarcerated since August 5 at the Correctional Reception Centre, a prison processing facility outside Columbus, where he was to undergo a series of mental and physical evaluations before being transferred to a more permanent lockup.
Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty acknowledged after Castro's sentencing that a suicide note and confession written by Castro was found by authorities at his residence when they searched his home following his arrest in May.
But McGinty dismissed the letter as an attempt of Castro, whom he described as a "narcissist", to feel sorry for himself and to place blame on his victims.
Castro had kidnapped each of his victims by luring them into his car with offers of a ride.
The three vanished without a trace between 2002 and 2004 - two of them as teenagers - and were rescued on May 6, 11 years after the first of them disappeared.
At his sentencing, Castro apologised for his actions but also sought to blame his behaviour on a sexual obsession and his own history of being abused as a child, declaring: "I am not a monster."
Confronting Castro in court during that proceeding, Knight told him: "I spent 11 years of hell. Now your hell is just beginning."