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Attorney: Castro's family is "shocked and devastated"

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Defense Attorney Craig Weintraub Defense Attorney Craig Weintraub
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

Ariel Castro's defense attorney, Craig Weintraub, is speaking out following the apparent jailhouse suicide of his client. 

The convicted kidnapper and rapist was found hanging in his cell on Tuesday night at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Pickaway County, Ohio. 

Castro was sentenced to life in prison, plus 1,000 years, for kidnapping and sexually assaulting Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus while holding them captive in his Seymour Avenue house for over a decade.

Weintraub tells 19 Action News he plans to launch his own investigation to find out what happened, but insists the investigation isn't for a future lawsuit.

"This is for the Castro family members to try to find out what happened," Weintraub said. "The family is shocked and devastated."

"There definitely was a history of suicidal thoughts," Weintraub continued. "We know that. We learned about that when the FBI found the letter inside the (Seymour Avenue) house."

Weintraub tells 19 Action News that once Castro was sentenced, he made a request with the Sheriff to have an independent forensic evaluation of Castro while he was still in Cuyahoga County. His request was denied. Once Castro was moved to Orient, a request was made with the warden, but that too was denied without any explanation.  

Weintraub doesn't know if Castro was placed on suicide prevention while in Orient, as he is not familiar with their protocol.

"There's inherent distrust of the state at this point," Weintraub said. "We all want to trust those that are empowered, particularly at a prison, but I don't trust the prison. There is no reason to trust them. They didn't communicate with us the reasons we couldn't get an independent evaluation, they didn't contact the family, Mr. Castro's family, to let them know he died prior to making a public statement."

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