the true story of the film inspired by the terrifying kidnapping of three women

The terrible true story behind the film The Cleveland Monster which tells the story of the kidnapping and years of imprisonment of 3 young girls.

The film The Cleveland Monsterfrom the original title Cleveland Abduction was released on the Lifetime channel in 2015 and tells the story of the terrible kidnapping of 3 women and their subsequent years of imprisonment. The seizure known as Ariel Castro case and the whole affair known as that of The Cleveland Monsterare recounted in the memoir of Michelle Knightone of the 3 abducted women, titled Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed. The film, based on the book, is directed by Alex Kalymnios and written by Stephen Tolkin and see in the cast Raymond Cruz as Ariel Castro, e Taryn Manning, Samantha Drok And Katie Sarife as the 3 young girls, respectively in the roles of Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry And Gina DeJesus. The plot of The Cleveland Monster resumes exactly the facts that were then told and reconstructed during the trial and starts from the kidnapping of Michelle, focusing on her story. The film caused quite a stir at the time, especially after the acquisition by the Netflix streaming platform

The terrible true story behind the film The Cleveland Monster

The Cleveland Monster -

The house where the girls were locked up

Entirely based on a true story The Cleveland Monster it starts precisely from August 23, 2002, when Ariel Castro, who lived in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland, kidnapped Michelle Knight, who was on her way to court that day after losing custody of her son. At the time Michelle Knight was 21 years old, she was single and accepted a ride from Ariel Castro, father of a school friend of hers son. When Michelle was initially kidnapped Castro kept her upstairs, tying her up and leaving her for 3 days without food or water, as happened to the other 2 women, Amanda, 17, kidnapped in 2003 while she was walking home from work, and Gina , aged 14, abducted in 2004 on her way home from school. The 3 women were then locked up in the basement of Castro’s house and were only released in 2013, when Amanda Berry managed to escape with her 6-year-old daughter, from Castro, and to warn the neighbors, then allowing the police to rescue also Gina and Michelle.

Amanda Berry realized when Castro walked out that day that she had left the door ajar, with only the screen door fully closed. Berry did not try to break down the door, but through the screen door she called the neighbors who, by breaking down the door, allowed the mother and daughter to leave. It wasn’t the first time that the girls had attempted to escape, it had happened before, but on each of those occasions, it had all turned out to be a sadistic game of Castro leaving the exits unlocked several times and then beating the girls who had tried to escape. During the trial, the details of the sexual abuse and rapes that the 3 women had suffered in those years came to light from the stories of the young women. Kept in dark rooms, with wooden panels nailed to the windows, with hands and feet tied, having to use a plastic bucket as a toilet that was rarely emptied, fed with one meal a day and allowed to wash only twice a day week. Knight became pregnant 5 times by Castro and in each of these Castro had given her an abortion, starving her, hitting her on her belly with heavy objects and beating her.

The Cleveland Monster

Ariel Castro. Credits: AP/Photo/Cuyahoga County

Gina was the only one who never became pregnant despite Castro’s rapes, while Amanda gave birth to a baby girl in 2006, cared for by Michelle and threatened with death by Castro if the baby did not survive. According to the sentencing memorandum filed by the prosecutor in the case, Castro used an actual “prolonged physical, sexual and psychological violence program” to ensure that women remained “in a state of helplessness.” Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts of rape, kidnapping and aggravated murder, i.e. the intentional induction of miscarriages, and was sentenced to more than 1,000 years in prison. Although the death penalty was considered, Castro eventually managed to avoid that sentence and, a month after his arrest, hanged himself in Castro’s cell.

Read also The champion: the exciting true story of the jockey Michelle Payne, at the base of the film with Teresa Palmer

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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