Seldom does a daughter use such harsh words to describe her own father.
Ariel Castro’s daughter called him “the most evil, vile, demonic criminal” she ever heard of during a CNN exclusive interview Thursday.
“He is dead to me,” Angie Gregg said of the father police say kidnapped, held captive, raped and beat three young women in Cleveland for about a decade.
She had known her “daddy” as a “friendly, caring, doting man.”
Now shocked and in disbelief, Gregg says she never wants to see him again.
“There will be no visits; there will be no phone calls,” she said. “He can never be Daddy again. I have no sympathy for the man.”
As she mulled the accusations against him, she asked, “How could you?”
“I wonder this whole time, how he could be so good to us, but he (allegedly) took young women, little girls, someone else’s babies, away from these families and over the years never felt enough guilt to just give up and let them free.”
Gregg did not think anything out of the ordinary was going on in her childhood home.
All that changed Monday when Amanda Berry broke loose. Police freed her fellow captives Georgina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, divulging the secret locked up inside the house at 2207 Seymour Ave.
When she first heard the news about their captivity, Gregg said, she “just wanted to die.”
She had known Berry and DeJesus from her school days.
Peculiarities she noticed about her father over the years started falling into place in a new, grim light, and they are making her feel “horrified,” she said.
“This was going on right under my nose.”
An odd place to visit
When she came calling, “he would take forever to come to the door,” she said. He always had the house locked up tight.
Standing at a window, Castro would often give her a hand signal indicating to her to wait. Then he’d wave her around to the back door, not letting her in through the front of the house.
Once inside, visits were fun and cordial. Gregg, her husband and Castro “ate, looked at photos and listened to music,” she said. “He appeared to be happy to see us and never rushed for us to leave.”
At times, he would disappear from dinner and give no explanation for his absence.
The music was usually turned up loud, but Gregg thought this to be fitting since Castro was a musician.
Once she asked if she could go upstairs to see her childhood bedroom. Castro coaxed her out of the idea, telling her, “Oh, honey, there’s so much junk up there. You don’t want to go up there,” she said.
Again, she thought nothing of it, “besides him being a pack rat.”
The basement was always locked.
Clinging to the house
The list of oddities continued.
Castro clung to home, never wanting to leave for more than a day, even to visit Gregg out of state when she lived with her family in Indiana.
“He was adamant in the fact that he wanted to leave home early morning and he had to be back by evening,” Gregg said.
Her family often made travel plans with Castro that they then had to cancel because of her father’s obsession with his own four walls.
Gregg said that she never saw signs of the 6-year-old at her father’s house and that she never saw her with him. But about two months ago, he showed her a picture in his cell phone.
Gregg asked who it was.
Her father told her that the girl was his girlfriend’s child by somebody else.
“I figured at the most he had an illegitimate child out there, you know, and I would find out eventually,” Gregg said.
She asked him to get a paternity test. She wanted to know if she had another sister out there somewhere.
Now she knows that she does.
Gregg recalled fond memories of growing up in the house and fun times with her father. He lined up the children in the backyard and trimmed their bangs himself, she said. He took her for rides on his motorcycle.
And he never abused her, she said, or her sisters, as far as she knows.
But he beat their mother, Grimilda Figueroa, whom he accused of fooling around with neighbors. He was very jealous, Gregg said.
“When Mom and Dad were fighting, it’s like I just wanted to melt into the ground,” she said. “I’ve seen him basically stomp on her like she was a man,” Gregg remembered.
Then after a bludgeoning, her mother had enough, and the family split up. The other children left with her mother, but Gregg stuck by Castro, believing the excuses he made for the violence. She finished growing up under his roof, she said.
A daughter divorced
Gregg is through believing in her father and is appalled at the extent of his alleged deception and cruelty.
“To go to the vigils, to show these girls the footage of their parents’ pleas for their return, to rape, starve and beat innocent human beings … I am disgusted.”
Gregg wants the girls who suffered in captivity to get the treatment they need, recover as well as they can and have the best lives possible. It was the first thing she mentioned during the interview.
She is relieved to see them and the little girl, her new sister, return to their families.
She hopes they can understand her father’s actions are not a reflection on her family.
“We don’t have monster in our blood,” she said.
Gregg’s mother died in 2012 after a bout with brain cancer. Now she has lost her father, too. She still cries for her mother, she said.
“I don’t cry for him.”
CNN’s Laurie Segall and Erica Fink reported from Cleveland; Ben Brumfield and Dana Ford wrote in Atlanta.
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