COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- One lesson learned from the headline-grabbing discovery of three women held captive for a decade is the need to be careful about who gets through police perimeters outside such crime scenes, Cleveland police Chief Michael McGrath said Friday.
Outside the house where the women were held, several people initially got inside the police perimeter because of "who they were" -- McGrath didn't specify names or roles -- and then publicly shared details they overheard, making it harder to manage the chaos as the story unfolded in May, McGrath said.
"In hindsight, that'll never happen again," he said as police and public safety representatives recapped the case Friday at a state conference for public information officers. He said his department will work to be more observant about who accesses such areas outside crime scenes.
The speakers said the city's priorities in handling the case were protecting the victims' privacy and the integrity of the investigation, and managing the throngs of local and international media that descended on the city in the days after the women were found. They said city representatives had contact with more than 400 media representatives in relation to the case.
Months later, police said they're still receiving cards, financial donations and other gifts for the three women.
Their captor, Ariel Castro, hanged himself in a prison cell Sept. 3. Castro, 53, had been sentenced about a month earlier to life in prison plus 1,000 years after pleading guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping and rape, in a deal to avoid the death penalty.
The women he held -- Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight -- disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20. They were rescued from Castro's run-down house May 6 after Berry broke through a screen door.