01:42 AM EDT 12/22/2014
Originally posted 05/08/2013 07:20AM
Joining his family for rice and beans and an afternoon of yard work at his mother's working-class Cleveland home on Monday, Ariel Castro was in high spirits.
"The first thing he said was, 'Familia!'" his brother-in-law Juan Alicea tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story. Before he left, "He kissed his mom goodbye and said, 'I love you, Mom; the food was good.' Just like normal."
But as much of the country would soon learn, it was no ordinary day.
Top 5 Most Voted Stories
Missing 4-Year-Old Boy Found Dead in Pond, Say Police
VIDEO: Grateful Son Pays Off Parents' Mortgage in Sweet Christmas Surprise
PHOTO: Jessa (Duggar) Seewald Shows Sisterly Love on Christmas
Four Puppies Stolen on Christmas Day After Owners Have No Cash to Give Burglars
Which Sex and the City Star Wants to Do Another HBO Comedy?
Top 10 News Categories
The most buzzed about stars this minute!
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
More On PEOPLE.com
Got a News Tip?
Send it to our People.com editors!