Three missing women found; three brothers arrested

"I'm free now," Amanda Berry told a 911 dispatcher Monday moments after escaping from a home just south of downtown Cleveland where she and two other women had been held captive for the past decade.
Associated Press
May 7, 2013

Crowds gathered Monday night on the street near the home where the city's police chief said he thought Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight had been held since they went missing when they were in their teens or early 20s.

The women appeared to be in good health and were taken to a hospital to be evaluated and to reunite with relatives. Police said a 6-year-old also was found in the home, but the child's identity or relationship to anyone in the home wasn't revealed.

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A neighbor, Charles Ramsey, told WEWS-TV he heard screaming Monday and saw Berry, whom he didn't recognize, at a door that would open only enough to fit a hand through. He said she was trying desperately to get outside and pleaded for help to reach police.

On a recorded 911 call Monday, Berry frantically declared, "I'm Amanda Berry. I've been on the news for the last 10 years."

She said she had been taken by someone and begged for police officers to arrive at the home on Cleveland's west side before he returned.

"I've been kidnapped, and I've been missing for 10 years," she told the dispatcher. "And I'm here. I'm free now."

Berry disappeared at age 16 on April 21, 2003, when she called her sister to say she was getting a ride home from her job at a Burger King. DeJesus went missing at age 14 on her way home from school about a year later. They were found just a few miles from where they had gone missing.

Police said Knight went missing in 2002 and is 32 now. They didn't provide current ages for Berry or DeJesus.

Police said one of the brothers, a 52-year-old, lived at the home, and the others, ages 50 and 54, lived elsewhere. Authorities released no names and gave no details about them or what charges they might face.

Ramsey, the neighbor, said he'd barbecued with the home's owner and never suspected something was amiss.

"There was nothing exciting about him — well, until today," he said.

Julio Castro, who runs a grocery store half a block from where the women were found, said the homeowner arrested is his nephew, Ariel Castro.

Berry also identified Ariel Castro by name in her 911 call.

Attempts to reach Ariel Castro in jail were unsuccessful Monday. Messages to the sheriff's office and a jail spokesman went unanswered, and there was no public phone listing for the home, which was being searched by dozens of police officers and sheriff's deputies.

The uncle said Ariel Castro had worked as a school bus driver. The Cleveland school district confirmed he was a former employee but wouldn't release details.

The women's loved ones said they hadn't given up hope of seeing them again.

A childhood friend of DeJesus, Kayla Rogers, said she couldn't wait to hug her.

"I've been praying, never forgot about her, ever," Rogers told The Plain Dealer newspaper.

Berry's cousin Tasheena Mitchell told the newspaper she couldn't wait to have Berry in her arms.

"I'm going to hold her, and I'm going to squeeze her and I probably won't let her go," she said.

Berry's mother, Louwana Miller, who had been hospitalized for months with pancreatitis and other ailments, died in March 2006. She had spent the previous three years looking for her daughter, whose disappearance took a toll as her health steadily deteriorated, family and friends said.

Councilwoman Dona Brady said she had spent many hours with Miller, who never gave up hope that her daughter was alive.

"She literally died of a broken heart," Brady said.

Mayor Frank Jackson expressed gratitude that the three women were found alive. He said there are many unanswered questions in the ongoing investigation.

At Metro Health Medical Center, Dr. Gerald Maloney wouldn't discuss the women's conditions in detail but said they were being evaluated by appropriate specialists.

"This is really good, because this isn't the ending we usually hear in these stories," he said. "So, we're very happy."

In January, a prison inmate was sentenced to 4 1/2 years after admitting he provided a false burial tip in the disappearance of Berry. A judge in Cleveland sentenced Robert Wolford on his guilty plea to obstruction of justice, making a false report and making a false alarm.

Last summer, Wolford tipped authorities to look for Berry's remains in a Cleveland lot. He was taken to the location, which was dug up with backhoes.

Two men arrested for questioning in the disappearance of DeJesus in 2004 were released from the city jail in 2006 after officers didn't find her body during a search of the men's house.

One of the men was transferred to the Cuyahoga County Jail on unrelated charges, while the other was allowed to go free, police said.

In September 2006, police acting on a tip tore up the concrete floor of the garage and used a cadaver dog to search unsuccessfully for DeJesus' body. Investigators confiscated 19 pieces of evidence during their search but declined to comment on the significance of the items then.

No Amber Alert was issued the day DeJesus failed to return home from school in April 2004 because no one witnessed her abduction. The lack of an Amber Alert angered her father, Felix DeJesus, who said in 2006 he believed the public will listen even if the alerts become routine.

"The Amber Alert should work for any missing child," Felix DeJesus said then. "It doesn't have to be an abduction. Whether it's an abduction or a runaway, a child needs to be found. We need to change this law."

Cleveland police said then that the alerts must be reserved for cases in which danger is imminent and the public can be of help in locating the suspect and child.

 

Comments

Truth or Dare

How many missing/abducted children are there througout this country?! Children listed as runaways?! Police get a 911 phone call from a female who states she's been kidnapped and missing for 10 yrs. and she's told a car will be sent as soon as it's available? Really?! Listen to the 911 call! Cause that's messed up!

These girls, now young women were found in a home less than 5 mi. from where they were abducted! Sex slaves? Stockholm Syndrome? I'll think twice when I drive past any home that someone lives in, a home with boarded up, taped up, closed up and never opened up windows! To boot, their captor is/was an acquaintance/friend of the De'Jesus family!!! Just goes to show ya, when it comes to such situations it could very well be someone you know. In the case of child sexual abuse, it's usually NEVER A STRANGER! I'll refrain from any comments of physical violence that would get this deleted, but don't think for a moment I'm not thinking it!

It's a good day in Cleveland and Praise God!

Mime Bloggling's picture
Mime Bloggling

They need to re-institute the death penalty for kidnapping. Also it will be interesting to see if the 3 Castro brothers are illegal aliens.
So glad for a good outcome for these girls.

2cents

I posted this in an earlier thread, I drove right past that house on 480 twice just this Sunday!

In my opinion, I would place the three brothers who did this in a single isolated dark cell together for thirty years. Ten years for each girl that lost ten years of her life, let's see how they like it. If we are lucky, they will kill each other the first year and save some tax dollars!

Julie R.

This is nothing short of a miracle. How many people really believed these 3 women were still alive? I don't think even the police believed it. Wasn't too long ago when some con in prison led the police on a wild goose chase saying he murdered Amanda Berry and told them where he supposedly buried her. Wasn't too far from where the 3 women were being held hostage. I'm sure they'll be looking into him again, too.

Amanda Berry has a child. Must mean she gave birth in that house, too, with no medical attention or anything.

This is also unreal. Three young women go missing over 10 years ago and are held hostage in a house only 5 miles from where they went missing and nobody noticed anything strange about that house? That's almost as bad as that monster Sowell that murdered all those women and kept their decomposed bodies -- some of them decapitated --- in his house for years. Nobody noticed anything strange there, either.

devilsadvocate

I am so glad these girls were found - BUT - they called 911 and he said, I will dispatch a car as soon as it is available. A car was dispatched around 20-25 minutes LATER!! Glad I have my personal protection (a gun). What if the guy had come home -who would have helped them?

Krissy3

I agree. The dispatcher in my opinion was rude and trying to get off the phone in the call. Who says I told you police are on the way to a frantic kidnapping victim and then hangs up?

tk

I was furious listening to the 911 call. That dispatcher should be fired.

Truth or Dare

Hey Julie; ll women didn't have to die, had they only listened to one that escaped. She was dismissed by LE and the courts. Just a buncha stutes and crackheads! Since the Sowell case was cracked wide open, they've brought other things to light as to how investigations are handled, how victims are treated. Ever read the Plain Dealer story regarding what was being done with rape kits? They were being shelved, w/no ivestigation whatsoever! And they wonder why folks have a difficult time finding any confidence? Oh, lest I fail to mention the most recent episode of the Police chase, all the shots fired, 2 dead! It's of no comfort when you hear that they're investigating themselves. We all know what that means; They did no wrong. Riiiiiiiight! Someone told me you can't sue LE, they're immune to being held accountable for any wrong doing. That's been made crystal clear! At least within the State of Ohio.

They are now speaking of this live, on the Viewpoint!

Truth or Dare

Sorry, the View.

luvblues2

Really? You watch the View? 5 women sitting around talking all at once, in a verbal catfight? At least you have shown me your character.

Unassumer

It makes you wonder how many other children are out there with persons that kidnapped them. I don't know how anyone could justify to themselves that this was okay. Could the brothers not relate to adult women or preferred teenagers and had to kidnap and confine them so as to have a sex life? Sick. Absolutely sick.

starryeyes83

The daughter of one of the suspects murdered her baby in Indiana and is serving 25 years... fear that gene pool!

Raoul Duke

Seems fishy to me.