CLEVELAND - Early Tuesday morning, Juan Perez told NewsChannel5, our Scripps sation in Cleveland, he grew up two houses down from 2207 Seymour Avenue, where police Monday found three missing women alive. Quite the shock to detectives, Perez described to NewsChannel5 Tuesday that it was more of a hard pill to swallow for neighbors.
“I'm not the only one on the block that feels ashamed to know that we didn't notice anything. I mean, I feel like my head's low, I work at a school, I work with kids, my head's - I have a heavy heart right now,” said Perez.
Police Monday, identified the home owner of 2207 Seymour Avenue and one of three brothers arrested in this kidnapping case as 52-year-old Ariel Castro.
Perez described Castro, telling NewsChannel5, mostly everyone on the block knew the neighbor.
"He 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 … um, I’ve known him since I was like five or six years old myself he would asked me if I wanted a ride …he seemed like he was a good guy to the kids that were here, I don't think he had any bad (attention) with the kids that were on the block but it just ... I didn’t think anything of it,” Perez said.
He went on to say that’s the “kind of guy” Castro made himself out to be to the block, not shy to attend a backyard party or barbeque. 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 property. He described Castro as stopping at the home sometimes 10 minutes or an hour at time.
Thinking back on the suspect’s behaviors and appearances, Perez said, “Now it's like, red flag, red flag, red flag, somebody should've said something and my sister actually a few years ago heard a scream and she called police."
But Perez told NewsChannel5 they had no idea where the scream came from. As this West Side community now begins to wrap its head around who was living next door, Perez told NewsChannel5 there’s a lesson to learn.
“We got to start being you know, close knit, really close knit because this can't happen, this really can't happen, you know, this is bogus,” he said.
The community around 2207 Seymour is a predominately Hispanic community, many members of that community are now outraged telling NewsChannel5 they knew at least one of the suspects as either a neighbor or even musician.
Detectives remained on scene much of the evening and will continue removing evidence from the home. Boxes and furniture were seen being removed from the residence in what police have described to be a very long investigation.
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In the tight-knit neighborhood near downtown Cleveland where many conversations are spoken in Spanish, it seems most everyone knew Ariel Castro.
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