Published 2022-05-19
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Google Blurs This House For Ever. What Is The Bloody History Behind It?

Google maps allow people to travel all over the world, see some incredible sights, or even just scroll through random streets in whatever country or city they choose. However, if you go to a street in Cleveland, Ohio you will not be able to see one specific house. No matter how hard you try to zoom in onto 2207 Seymour Avenue, the view of the property will be obstructed. What was the chilling reason the house has been blocked from view? And is having your house blocked something that anyone is able to do? Read on to find out.

The Blurred Address

A seemingly ordinary street in Cleveland, Ohio, will show you the suburban houses that reside there. All except for one. But prior to it being blurred from view, it was an ordinary-looking home on the suburban street. A two-story building that has four bedrooms, a bathroom, a 760sq ft basement, two porches, an attack, and a detached garage. Though is a blurred property a bad sign? Read on to find out.

The Blurred Address

Can Anyone Blur Their Property?

Well as it turns out, yes, this is something that can be done. If Google is the owner of the photos then anyone can request to have something on the photo blurred or even have it reported. Though of course there are certain things that must be included, such as a person's face, home, or other identifying information. Basically, anything that might violate the Google-contributed Street View privacy policies. According to local media, one woman in Australia had her entire street blurred from street view as it showed her walking her dog. But when this specific house is concerned, there is a blood-chilling reason that such a decision was made.

Can Anyone Blur Their Property?

The Houses Bloody History

The main reason the house is obstructed from view was that it was the scene of a horrific crime and because it was the house of Ariel Castro. The man, also known as the "Cleveland Monster", was from Puerto Rico, where he was born on July 10, 1960. A few years after his father left the family, he and his mother and siblings moved to Cleveland in the United States, where Pedro lived with his large family. It is said that the mother was very strict with her son, she was aggressive with her words and often punished him with a hand, a belt, or a stick. In 1979, Ariel graduated from Cleveland High School.

Castro’s Personal Life

It was around this time that he began dating his neighbor, 17-year-old Nilda Figueroa. When it became known that they had an intimate relationship, he was forced by the girl's family to commit to her permanently. In 1981 their first child was born, and 11 years later, when they had already had four children, the couple moved into their own house. Throughout this time, Castro was very aggressive and contentious. He forced his wife to stay at home and used violence when she rebelled. Once there was retaliation in the presence of her brother, Ariel was arrested, but he was released because Nilda did not press charges. However, when they moved out to live together the violence escalated. He padlocked the woman with her children in the house when he went on a road trip, broke her bones, and allowed her to go to the hospital on the condition that she would not call the police. He once threw her down the stairs causing a skull injury after which she was diagnosed with a blood clot in her brain, resulting in an inoperable tumor. Figueroa abandoned her husband in 1996. She was given full custody of the children, and Castro was denied visitation rights. The man was already renovating his basement, which other household members were forbidden to enter. He installed a heavy trapdoor, and added curtains and layers of bricks to quiet it. After his wife left, he darkened and soundproofed the rooms, and he also began fantasizing about rough intimate practices with minors.

Castro’s First Victim - Michelle Knight

He abducted his first victim on August 22, 2002. Michelle Knight was supposed to report to the Social Services Office, which had taken her two-year-old son from her, in order to prove that she was able to take custody of the boy. However, she got lost and went into a store to ask for directions. She was spotted by Castro, who, based on her petite figure, thought she was 15, although Knight was 21 at the time. He offered her a ride, and she agreed because she knew his daughter Emily. Because the man had a placard in the car advertising puppies, he told Michelle that his house was on the way and he needed to give water to the pets. The girl, on the pretext of getting a dog for herself, entered the house with him, and Castro trapped her. Worse, because Knight was of age the police thought she had left as a result of unpleasant personal matters and did not put much effort into trying to find her. Ariel mocked her in subsequent years by saying that no one cared.

Castro’s Second Victim - Amanda Berry

On April 21, 2003, a second victim, Amanda Berry, showed up at the Castro home. She was a friend of his son, with whom Anthony Castro worked at Burger King, and his daughter Angie, with whom she went to school. The day before Berry's 17th birthday, a man offered to give her a ride home after her shift ended. On the way, he found that Angie was at his house and suggested they stop and say hello. Taking advantage of the girl's moment of inattention, he took her cell phone and imprisoned her. Amanda's disappearance caused quite a stir, her parents made several appearances on television, even on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and the police were on the increase. After a week, Castro called the girl's family saying she was fine and should be home in a few days. The call was considered evidence of an abduction and the FBI was called. However, agents were unable to determine the exact location of the phone because the man never called again. Instead, Berry said he contacted her parents and told them they were a couple. Amanda's mother searched for her daughter until the end; she died of heart failure in early March 2006. Meanwhile, on December 25, 2006, Berry gave birth to a baby in captivity. Subsequent DNA testing confirmed that the father of the girl's child was Castro. It was thanks to Amanda that the final release of the women took place, but more on that in a moment.

Castro’s Third Victim - Gina DeJesus

A third victim was abducted on April 2, 2004. Gina DeJesus was 14 years old and was a classmate of Castro's daughter, Arlene, and related to Tito DeJesus, the leader of the band the man was in. Castro spotted Gina and Arlene outside the school, waited until they were separated, and then passing DeJesus asked her to get in the car and help him find his daughter, who he allegedly wanted to pick up. Eventually, the girl was trapped in the same room as Knight. What's puzzling is that after Gina's disappearance, the Amber Alert wasn't triggered, and it wasn't until a year later that her case was linked to the Berry kidnapping plot. Castro, meanwhile, attended vigils for DeJesus, offered support to her family, and distributed "Missing" flyers.

The Girls Lives In Captivity

The girls were chained and starved throughout their captivity. They were allowed to take a shower once or twice a week and were regularly subjected to violence and intimate abuse. Over the years, the women left the house only twice - to go to the garage. Knight later testified that she lost five pregnancies as a result of the beatings, and her grandmother revealed to reporters that the girl had stopped hearing in one ear and had to undergo facial reconstruction. It wasn't until the birth of a baby girl from Berry that something had an impact on the abuser.

Castro’s Daughter With Amanda Berry

Castro wanted a child very much and wanted to have one with Amanda. The birth, which took place in an inflatable baby pool in the basement, was delivered by Michelle. He threatened to take Knight's life on the spot if anything happened to the baby. Because the girl was not breathing, the woman had to resuscitate her. Berry named her Jocelyn and taught her to write and read herself. Castro, on the other hand, lost his head for her. He played with her in the yard behind the house and took her for walks in the park. He introduced her to his relatives as his new girlfriend's granddaughter or daughter. He weakened the restrictions at home slightly and gave up chaining his victims. At his daughter's request, he also stopped locking some of the doors while he was away from home.

Castro’s Mistake

And that probably led to him making a mistake. On May 6, 2013, while going to work, he forgot to lock the large front door, even though the outside storm door was bolted. Berry and her daughter, taking advantage of the situation, began banging on them loudly alerting neighbors. Angela Cordero and Charles Ramsey freed Amanda and she alerted the police who rescued Knight and DeJesus who remained in the house for fear that this was another Castro test.

Castro Arrested

The man was arrested the same day. Nearly a thousand charges were filed against him, although he asserted that the women had consented to the rapprochement and there was "harmony" in the home. He said, "I'm not a monster, I'm sick. I have an addiction, like an alcoholic." Experts dismissed this claim, and fearing the death penalty, at the urging of his defenders, Ariel Castro made a plea bargain with the prosecution. He pleaded guilty and voluntarily submitted to punishment. The court sentenced him to life plus 1,000 years in prison without the possibility of parole. He also received a lifetime ban on earning money. Castro could not handle the pressure and took his own life a month after the sentencing.

Odd No One Found Out What Happened

What remains astonishing about the entire case is that for so many years, no one discovered the drama unfolding in the Cleveland home. The first time police knocked on Castro's door was in early 2004, looking for witnesses after a burglary at a neighboring property. The man wasn't home, and officers weren't surprised by a loudly operating radio. On several occasions, the kidnapper's neighbors also reported strange screams coming from his home, but the police did not take action.

What Happened To The Victims?

As a result of the court agreement, Castro's house was demolished on August 7, 2013. It also completely disappeared from Google Maps. Michelle Knight legally changed her name and opened a restaurant, Amanda Berry joined the WJW team in Cleveland in February 2017, and hosts short, episodes on Fox 8 reporting missing person cases, and DeJesus volunteers with the Amber Alert committee, supporting families of abducted children. Shortly after their release, the Cleveland Courage Fund was created, a bank account set up to help women transition to independent living that raised slightly more than $1 million shortly after its launch. In 2015, a TV movie was made detailing their harrowing story entitled The Cleveland Monster.

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