Authorities in Cleveland are deciding what to do with the House of Horrors where police say kidnapping/rape suspect Ariel Castro held three women — Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight — captive for a decade.
As of Monday, the Seymour Avenue dwelling remained boarded up and blocked off (via a 10-foot metal fence), and neighbors are pleading for the property to be demolished.
Neighbor Johnny Wright said removing the two-story house would eliminate a painful reminder for the victims.
“The girls that [were] in that house, when they ride by there, if they ever ride by there again, they won’t have to see that, to remind them or maybe scare them,” Wright, 54, told the AP. “What they went through, I don’t think any human being should ever been through that.”
Neighbor Elsie Cintron said “it’d be a horrifying thing for anybody to go through there thinking something else might happen with the house still standing. It could be boarded up, locked up — don’t mean somebody can’t get in from the back and do something else.”
Despite the wishes of locals, the house remains a key piece of evidence in the prosecution of Castro on kidnapping and rape charges.
Councilman Brian Cummins, noting there have already been threats to burn it down, said ultimately, the victims and community should have the final say as to the house’s fate.
“The issue is how do we respect the wishes of the survivors in this case,” he said,” and it’s too premature to know what their wishes would be.”
In Sowell’s case — the convicted serial killer murdered 11 women at his east side Cleveland home — the house was only decimated after jurors in his 2011 murder trial walked through the property.
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