YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — For a woman in Yonkers, the arrest of Ariel Castro in connection with the kidnapping of three women brought a shock of recognition.
As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported Wednesday, Daisy Cortes lived in Cleveland for a decade, and considered Castro a friend.
“I’m still in shock, because it could have happened to my daughter, too,” Cortes said.
Cortes on Wednesday was thinking back over her acquaintance with Castro. She remembered him as a sharp-dressed man and a talented bass player in a popular band that was led by her former fiancé.
Cortes described Castro as quiet and friendly.
“Even when my ex-fiancé died, he was the first person to call with condolences, and say, ‘Here, I am here for you, anything you need, call me,’” Cortes said. “Thank God I never did!”
Ten years ago, Cortes was a reporter in Cleveland for Spanish-language media. She covered the disappearance of the three young women, and remembered discussing the cases with Castro.
“No reaction at all, no emotion at all; very cold person,” she said.
Castro was always friendly to Cortes’ daughter, Bianca Cruz, who was 9 years old back then. She is now 19.
“He used to, like, play with my hair, stroke my shoulder,” Cruz said. “But you wouldn’t think anything of it back then, but now, looking back, you can only think about what was going through his head when he was doing that. Back then, it was harmless, but now looking back, it’s creepy. Honestly, it shocked me.”
Now, the women consider Castro a monster.
“I was having a kidnapper in my house, and hanging with him,” Cortes said.
They believe Castro was a master at hiding depravity behind a mild demeanor.
“Having fun, smiling, not any signal at all,” Cortes said. “But you know what? I am glad for the girls — they found the girls — for the families, I’m so happy.”
Cortes moved to New York in 2005. She remembered her fiancé, the bandleader, being very upset with Castro for missing practice after practice in 2003 – the year victim Berry was kidnapped.
Cortes now believes Castro was busy then – setting up his house of horrors on Seymour Avenue.
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