The Cleveland man accused of keeping three women captive for years is under suicide watch and is being held on $8 million bail.

Ariel Castro (R) stands with his public defender, Kathleen DeMetz, during his arraignment on kidnapping and rape charges (Matt Sullivan, Getty Images)

Prosecutors say they may pursue the death penalty against 52-year-old Ariel Castro.

Dozens of residents who live near the Cleveland house where authorities say Castro held three women for a decade were given an update by officials.

They gathered Thursday night at a church half a block from the house where the women were found. They received briefings on ways to help the women and applauded the police for their handling of their disappearances.

A police report says he impregnated one of his captives at least five times and made her miscarry by starving her and punching her in the belly.

Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty said his office will decide whether to bring aggravated murder charges punishable by death in connection with the pregnancies that were terminated by force.

"A Monster"

A view outside the house where Ariel Castro allegedly held captive Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight (Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Several relatives of Grimilda Figueroa, who left Ariel Castro years ago and died after a long illness last year, painted a nightmarish portrait of Castro's family life as authorities made public horrifying details of the abuse endured by the imprisoned women.

In interviews with The Associated Press on Thursday, the relatives described Castro as a "monster" who abused his wife and locked his family inside their own home. Their views were at odds with those of some of Castro's family and a neighbor, who knew the former school bus driver only as a happy and respectful man.

Figueroa's relatives said Castro savagely beat her, pushing her down a flight of stairs, breaking her nose and dislocating her shoulder, among other injuries. Her sister, Elida Caraballo, said Castro once shoved Figueroa into a cardboard box and closed the flaps over her head.

"He told her, 'You stay there until I tell you to get out,'" said Caraballo, who cried as she recounted her late sister's torment. "That's when I got scared and I ran downstairs to get my parents."


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