Local man stunned at arrests of 3 childhood friends in Cleveland kidnapping case

Chance encounter years later, all seemed normal

EL CAJON, Calif. - A San Diego man says he was amazed to see the TV reports about the three men arrested in Cleveland in connection with the kidnappings of three young women a decade ago. 

Joseph Rider grew up with them and they reconnected as adults after he had moved to California and back.

Rider still has his yearbook for Lincoln West High School in Cleveland. He retrieved it after watching news coverage of the rescue of the women and arrests of the Castro brothers.

"Wow, these are three kids that I grew up with," he said. "I know these people."

He could not believe what he was seeing and hearing about the investigation. 

"I kept screaming at the TV… he only has two brothers. It's Pedro and Onil. It's Pedro and Onil," he said.

The Phoenix yearbook shows Rider as a junior and Ariel Castro's sophomore picture below the heading: "Class of '79 wants everyone to know they're doing fine."

Not all of them. Ariel Castro owns the house where the captives were held all these years.

Rider remembers the house where the Castro's grew up.

"We'd be over there, smoking marijuana at the time," he said. "Nothing ever made me think these guys would be doing something like this."

Rider moved to San Diego and then back to Cleveland years later where he ran into the brothers on the street. 

"They seemed fine to me and they were all, 'How you been? How's your sister?'" he said. "You would have never known anything was up or anything was out of the ordinary with them."

This encounter occurred during the time the women were locked inside the house. 

"But Ariel – being the one that had the property and being charged – he's the one I'm just amazed that … it's like ... what happened?" said Rider.

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