TODAY   |  May 08, 2013

Ohio suspects’ cousin: ‘We are so sorry’

Julio “Cesi” Castro and Maria Castro Montes, the uncle and cousin of of Ariel, Pedro, and Onil Castro, the men accused of holding three women captive in Ohio for over ten years speak to TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie about the Castro brothers and say “we are elated that these girls were found.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> here with his daughter maria castromontes. first question, mr. castro , did you have any inkling these nephews could be involved in something like this?

>> nothing whatsoever.

>> when was the last time you saw them?

>> pedro was sitting at the bus station , the bus stop the other day and i passed by and i say hi and good-bye. that was it. ariel i haven't seen in the last six years.

>> maria , what do you know about these men?

>> i know they're cousins. ariel , beloved cousins. this is an incredible thing to believe but one of the things i want to say on behalf of the castro family we are elated obviously that these girls have been found and that they are alive and our hearts are full of joy for that reason, and at the same time the family is suffering a great sadness to know that these girls have suffered at the hands of family members of ours and we would certainly like to say to those three young women that we are so sorry for everything they had to endure and we want them to know if they ever need anything, we are here for them, and we certainly hope that an entire family is not judged over the actions of one person, that an entire community is not judged over the actions of one person or that an entire race is not judged over the actions of one person.

>> maria , it's clear your family is going through a trial of its own right now. when you look back on it, is there anything that stands out to you now in retrospect as being suspicious or something that should have raised red flags ?

>> no, absolutely not. i mean, they always say hindsight is 20/20 and if there were ever anything that anyone had ever told my father, who lives in this neighborhood, that they thought that anything was suspicious going on with his nephew or that house, i mean no one in this entire family would have kept anything secret or protected them to the extent of what has transpired here. i know that his own mother, sisters, siblings, his own children would have never condoned or kept any of this quiet.

>> you know the dejesus family.

>> we know gina's family.

>> they come into your store as i understand it.

>> yes, we grew up together. especially gina's grandfather who moved to florida years ago but we're still in contact, he was one of the first persons i called who informed that his granddaughter had been found and how happy i was.

>> very quickly before i let you go, there had been reports that ariel castro had had charges filed against him from his ex-wife that he had been violent. did you know anything about that?

>> no idea. i mean, obviously this is a story that is unfolding with the investigation that's happening and we as a family are just as shocked and stunned and we're hearing all of these things for the first time as well. so definitely not anything, because there has been a distance with these cousins for some time and you know it's shocking and very hurtful and very shameful to hear all of this at this point.

>> we thank you both for being here and sharing your time with us. appreciate it.