DeLAND, Fla. - When the news broke in Cleveland of three women held captive and the suspect's name was released, the hearts of one DeLand couple sank. That's because Ariel Castro, the man accused of owning this so-called house of horrors, is their nephew.
A man who only identified himself as Mr. Gonzales said they were shocked and saddened by what they saw on the news.
"He was a nice kid, I mean, he was. They've never been in trouble before. never," said Castro's uncle.
Gonzales said up until 16 years ago, when they moved to Central Florida, he and his wife lived next door to the house where police say the women held prisoners for years were found.
Gonzales said his nephew changed once his father died in 2003.
"He secluded himself, they say, you know, he lived in that house and board it up, you know, the windows and everything," Gonzales told WESH-TV.
In the small town of Deltona, there's another man who also is related to Ariel Castro.
"It's pretty unbelievable that he can cover this up for so long," said Chrispino Nieves," Castro's uncle by marriage. "The big question is why the people in the area didn't know about it, you know?"
Even more shocking, Channel 4 has learned Castro's relatives knew the family of Georgina DeJesus, one of the women the 52-year-old is accused of kidnapping and holding captive. Her grandfather lives in Central Florida.
"I was so numb that I didn't say anything because all this time that she been gone," said Benny Ruiz.