Elida-Marie Caraballo, the niece of sadistic Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro, has revealed how she innocently played in his “house of horrors” while his three torture victims were chained up in the cellar beneath her.
Elida-Marie Caraballo, 19, said she would visit “Uncle Ariel” with her cousin Arlene – Ariel Castro’s daughter – but he would demand they wait outside the back door until he “fixed things” inside.
“He would play the radio real loud and told me never to leave the kitchen,” she said.
“I thought he was weird but I had no idea he was a monster. It gives me chills to think I was playing with my toys on the kitchen floor while those poor girls were locked in the basement.
“My uncle and aunt were separated so I would go round with Arlene to visit her daddy.”
Elida-Marie Caraballo’s mother, Elida, 44, is the sister of Ariel Castro’s common-law-wife Grimilda Figueroa who died last year of a brain tumor the family say was brought on by vicious beatings by Castro.
The couple bought the house where the three women were held captive, built in 1950, in 1992 and raised their four young children there until they split in 1996.
Elida-Marie Caraballo says her uncle’s behavior “became weirder” after he split from her aunt and that he may have abducted his victims to replace the family he lost.
“He was a bully and used to beat my aunt badly but when she finally got the courage to leave and come live with us he cried and begged her to come home.”
Recalling her visits there, Elida-Marie said: “I had no idea those poor girls were chained up in the basement.
“Now I wonder what would have happened if I’d heard something. Would he have locked me in the basement too? I was only a kid but the house gave me the creeps.”