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Cleveland Kidnap Suspect Was A ‘Loner And A Little Bit Weird,’ Ex-Bandmate Reveals

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The musical director of a Latin band which the man arrested in connection to the disappearance of three Cleveland women once played in has described him as a “quiet guy who was sometimes on the defensive.”

Ariel Castro, 52, who was arrested on Monday after one of his alleged victims escaped his neighborhood home to call police, listed ‘Grupo Fuego’ as an employer his Facebook page.

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But Julio L. Rodriguez, a member of the group, told RadarOnline.com that Castro only played in the band twice in 2008 as a fill-in bass guitarist.

He never “talked about his personal life or living situation,” the shocked musician said.

“He was a loner. A little bit weird, but never disrespectful,” Rodriguez, who last spoke to Castro on the phone two years ago, told RadarOnline.com in an exclusive interview.

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Castro was a regular on the local musician, Rodriguez added, often “playing with several bands in the area.”

“You would never have imagined he would do something like this,” he said.

“On a personal level, I did not know him too much, but he was a quiet guy. Sometimes on the defensive. Other than that nothing too weird about him, on the surface.”

In a statement released on the band’s Facebook, members described their relief at the rescue of Georgina DeJesus, 23, Amanda Berry, 27, and Michele Knight, 32, who were found alive Monday night after they vanished a decade ago near their homes.

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“We are really happy, relieved, and shocked at the same time for all that has transpired in Cleveland in the past day,” the statement read.

“May God bless Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, and relatives involved in this crazy nightmare. We hope they can continue with their lives and put all this behind.

“At the same time, the main suspect in custody has been a local musician for many years and has performed with several bands as a bass guitar player. For some reason we don¹t understand, he decided to list our band as an employer on his Facebook page. To set the record straight, he is not a member of Grupo Fuego, and in our 14 year span as a band, he performed as a sub twice in the year 2008, once in August, and once in November of
that year.”

Added Rodriguez, “Oh my god, I am mad, shocked and creeped out. I am happy for all the girls that but at the same time we don’t understand why he did it and listed us an employer. He was a decent player, but thankfully we had a steady guy that we’ve used over the years and thank god we didn’t use Ariel more steadily.”

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