CLEVELAND - Demolition began just after 7 a.m. Wednesday to the Seymour Avenue house where Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight were held captive for more than a decade, destroying the prison and fortress that Ariel Castro built.
"This was one evil guy," Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty said at a news conference outside the home.
Gina's aunt, Peggy Arida, was with the crane operator as the first swing went into the "pink room," where Amanda Berry and her daughter were held.
Janice Smith, another one of Gina's aunts, was watching the demolition and said, "It means closure, finally closure, freedom. I'm just happy it's down, never to be looked at again."
(See images from inside the home before it was demolished - http://5.wews.com/nHTnx )
Prosecutors said Castro cried when he signed over the house deed and mentioned his "many happy memories" there with the women.
McGinty said the $22,000 found in Castro's home was offered to Amanda, Gina and Michelle. He said they want it to go back to the neighborhood instead. There has been no official word on what will happen to the area.
More than 100 people came to Seymour Avenue to watch. Onlookers cheered and clapped as the demolition began.
The demolition revealed a sticker in the home that said "Daddy's Girl."
The house is being torn down as part of a deal that spared Ariel Castro a possible death sentence. He was sentenced last week to life in prison plus 1,000 years.