Three days after his arrest, Cleveland abductor Ariel Castro told the FBI how he almost got caught twice over the last decade, including once when a girlfriend was suspicious that a TV was on in the room where he was holding one of three young women, NBC's Today reports Friday.
In exclusive report by NBC correspondent Kate Snow, Today aired excerpts from four hours of FBI interrogation tapes made after Castro's arrest in May. Snow said the tapes were obtained from a source "familiar with the criminal investigation."
Castro, 52, hanged himself with a bedsheet in his prison cell on Tuesday.
The former Cleveland bus driver was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years on Aug. 1 for abducting three young women — Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight — over a 10-plus-year period and holding them them captive in chains in his Cleveland home.
On the videotapes, Castro says there were several close calls that could have led to his capture.
Once, he tells FBI interrogators, a girlfriend noticed that there was a television on in an upstairs room of his house in Cleveland where he was holding Knight.
"She says, 'what is that, you have a TV on up there?' My heart started beating and I was like, OK, she's probably catching on to something," Castro says.
In another incident, Castro says, he should have been spotted on surveillance tapes at the school where he abducted DeJesus.
Asked if that was a close call, Castro replies, "yeah."
He also tells FBI agents that he used Amanda Berry's cellphone to call her mother.
"I said something ... that I have her daughter and that she's OK," Castro tells the FBI interrogators.
He says he told Berry's mother that that "She's (Amanda) my wife now, something like that, you know, probably not the exact words."
Asked about the response from the mother, Castro says, "I hung up. We didn't have a conversation."
He also describes what happened on the day Berry escaped and alerted neighbors, ending the ordeal for the three young women.
Castro says Berry's' daughter, whom he had fathered, was always asking him why he locked all the doors in the house. On the day he was captured, he says, he left a bedroom door open.
"I let my guard down," he tells the interrogators.