(USA TODAY) -- Ariel Castro, accused with his brothers of kidnapping and holding
three women for a decade in a house he owned, is a local musician, a
former school bus driver and had been a gregarious part of the community
on Cleveland's Seymour Avenue.
Castro's Facebook page lists him as having worked for Grupo Fuego, a "tropical/merengue" band formed in Cleveland in 1999.
the band posted a note on Facebook saying that while Castro has been a
local bass guitar player for many years, he was never a member of the
"For some reason we don't understand, he decided to list our
band as an employer on his Facebook page," the posting says. "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."
Quinones, manager for Grupo Fuego, said the band stopped working with
Castro because he was not dependable: "The only thing I remember about
him was that he was always late to practice."
Castro also played
with Los Boy'z Del Merengue, performing with Roberto Ocasio in 2003. "I
knew Castro as a good bass player and never had any contact with him
other than that," said Ocasio's former manager, Bev Montie.
Montie currently heads the Roberto Ocasio Foundation, which conducts music camps for kids.
all horrified to think of all this, especially with our situation with
children," she said. "But Castro was never part of any children's
program we conducted."
In 2004, officers went to the Seymour
Avenue home after Castro, then a school bus driver, left a child
unattended on a bus, Safety Director Martin Flask said Tuesday. No one
answered the door, and at some point officers talked to Castro and
determined there was no criminal intent involving the bus incident,
Records show that Castro was arrested for domestic violence in 1993, but that a grand jury declined to indict him.
52, owned the Seymour Avenue home. Records show the house was in
foreclosure because Castro owed thousands in real estate taxes.
Cleveland.com reports that Castro bought the house in 1992 for $12,000
from Edwin and Antonia Castro; it's not clear if Ariel Castro is related
to the couple.
Juan Perez told Cleveland's NewsChannel5 that he
grew up two houses down from the Seymour Avenue home and has known
Castro since Perez was 5 or 6 years old.
Perez told the TV station that almost everyone on the block knew Castro.
was a nice guy, he would come around and say hi. He gave the kids rides
up and down the street on his four-wheeler," Perez said. "He asked me
if I wanted a ride. .. He seemed like he was a good guy to the kids that
were here. ... I didn't think anything of it."
Perez said Castro
was not shy about attending backyard parties or barbecues. Perez also
told NewsChannel5 he would see a bus parked outside of 2207 Seymour
Ave., but that later on, he began to think Castro owned another
Perez described Castro as stopping at the home sometimes 10 minutes or an hour at a time.
"Now it's like, red flag, red flag, red flag, somebody should've said something," he said.
Perez told NewsChannel5 there's a lesson to learned.
not the only one on the block that feels ashamed to know that we didn't
notice anything," Perez told the TV station. "I work at a school, I
work with kids. ... I have a heavy heart right now."