News Column

Women Rescued, Brothers Arrested in Cleveland Kidnap Case

May 7, 2013

Three brothers, all in their 50s, were arrested in the apparent kidnapping of three women in the Cleveland area nearly 10 years ago, police said.

The three women -- Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight -- were found Monday in a house in a Cleveland neighborhood where they apparently were held prisoner for years, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported Tuesday.

While police declined to identify the men, neighbors said one of them, Ariel Castro, 52, owned and lived in the house where the women were held. He was a bus driver for the Cleveland school system.

Police searched the house and yard Monday night and into Tuesday morning.

Records indicated Castro was arrested for domestic violence in 1993, but wasn't indicted.

Berry called police Monday afternoon and told a dispatcher that she was alive and free after being kidnapped about a decade ago and held captive in the house.

"We've confirmed it's them," a Cleveland detective said. "They are alive and safe."

Police scheduled a news conference for Tuesday.

Berry, now 27, DeJesus, 23, and Knight, 30, were taken to MetroHealth Medical Center. Knight had been missing since 2003, while DeJesus was reported missing in 2004 and Knight was reported missing in 2002.

Dr. Gerald Maloney, an emergency room doctor at MetroHealth, said Monday during a news conference the three women were in fair condition.

"They are able to speak, they are safe, and hospital staff are assessing their needs and evaluating if they will spend the night," Maloney said. "This is good. This is not the ending we usually see from these stories."

Berry was the first to escape, climbing through a through a broken door accompanied by a child, The Plain Dealer said. Police came and rescued DeJesus and Knight.

The Plain Dealer said it wasn't immediately known who the child was. CBS reported it was Berry's 6-year-old daughter.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, in a statement Monday, expressed gratitude the women were found alive.

"We have many unanswered questions regarding this case, and the investigation will be ongoing," Jackson said.

At the hospital, passing drivers honked in a show of support, The Plain Dealer said. People who gathered at the hospital hugged each other and cried.

"They don't find people who go missing, you know," said Kayla Rogers, 23, who attended elementary and middle school with DeJesus. "I'm at a loss for words."

Castro's uncle, Julio Castro, who owns a store in the neighborhood told The Plain Dealer he had mixed emotions.

"For me, it's bad on one side and good on the other side," the uncle said.

Charlie Czorba, who lives in the neighborhood, expressed shock at how long the women lived in the house unnoticed.

"This is our own backyard," he said. "These girls were locked up in our own backyard."

Neighbor Charles Ramsey said he heard a girl screaming, "Help, help me out." He said he called emergency services.

Ramsey said he kicked in the bottom of the door as Castro fled, The Plain Dealer said. Berry crawled out.

Police arrested Castro at a nearby fast food restaurant.

Source: Copyright UPI 2013

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