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Charles Montaldo

3 Women Escape Captors After 10 Years

By May 7, 2013

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Pedro, Ariel and Onil Castro (L-R)

Investigators are trying to determine how three kidnapped women managed to go undetected for a decade in a densely populated residential Cleveland neighborhood. The three managed to escape their ordeal when one of them, with the help of neighbors who heard her screams, managed to kick her way through the front door of 2207 Seymour Avenue.

Amanda Berry, who vanished in 2003, pulled herself and a six-year-old girl through the door, then called 9-1-1 to get police to rescue Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus.

Police have arrested the owner of the house, Ariel Castro, 52, a former Cleveland school bus driver, and two of his brothers, Pedro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50.

Investigators Giving Them Space

The three women are believed to have suffered years of sexual and physical abuse inside the two-story, white house located about two miles from downtown. But investigators were taking the questioning of the women slow the day after their escape.

"Right now, we want to let them spend some time with their families and take this process very, very slowly and respectful for their families and the young girls' needs," Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba told reporters.

Police believe that Arial Castro, who was known as a friendly neighbor who would give the kids in the neighborhood rides on is four-wheel ATV, was somehow able to hold his victims captive starting in late 2002.

Knight Not Reported Missing

On August 23, 2002, Michelle Knight, 20, disappeared after she left her cousin's house near Lorain Avenue and West 106th Street. Knight was not previously known to authorities, because no one had ever officially reported her missing.

On April 21, 2003, Amanda Berry disappeared after leaving her Burger King job at the corner of Lorain Avenue and West 110th Street, a few blocks from her home. She was 16 at the time.

On April 2, 2004, Georgina "Gina" DeJesus, 14, vanished while walking home from school. The last time anyone saw her, she was at a telephone booth at the corner of Lorain Avenue and 105th Street.

Police Visited Home Twice

Prior to Dejesus' disappearance, in January 2004, police went to Ariel Castro's house to talk with him about a child left on his school bus. No one answered the door.

In November 2011, a neighbor told police that he heard pounding coming from inside Castro's house. Police knocked on the front door, but no one answered. The officers reportedly walked around the house, heard nothing suspicious, and left, according to the neighbor, Israel Lugo.

Then yesterday, May 6, 2013, Castro apparently left the house and Amanda Berry made her move to freedom. She was able to open the front door, but because it was chained, she could only get one hand through the opening. She began screaming for help. "Help me. Help me. I've been kidnapped," she screamed.

Neighbors Help Free Berry

Two neighbors came to help and told her to kick out the bottom panel of the door. When she could not do so, the neighbors helped her kick until she was able to squeeze through the opening, bringing what is believed to be her 6-year-old daughter with her.

Berry then went to the neighbor's home at 2210 Seymour Avenue and made her 9-1-1 call. She told the dispatcher, "I've been kidnapped and I've been missing for 10 years, and I'm, I'm here, I'm free now."

"The real hero here is Amanda," Tomba said.

Were There More Pregnancies?

The three women and the girl were taken to the MetroHealth Emergency Department where they were examined and reunited with family members. They were released from the hospital Tuesday morning.

Investigators are giving the women time to be with their families and settle down emotionally before resuming questioning, but the investigation is continuing.

A Cleveland television station reported that the sexual abuse suffered by the women during their captivity resulted in five other pregnancies. Reporter Tom Meyer said sources told him the captors would beat the women when they would become pregnant, and the babies did not survive.

Police sources would not confirm if their investigation of "disturbed dirt" in the backyard of Castro's house was related to the pregnancies.

See Also:
Three Ohio Women Found Alive After Being Missing for a Decade
Police: No previous Indication Women Were Being Held at Cleveland Home
Police Hail Rescued Ohio Women
DeJesus Family: Gina Knew Kidnapper Ariel Castro
Authorities Visited House in 2004 Where Ohio Women Found
How Did Kidnapped Women Go Undetected?
Should the Dispatcher Have Stayed on the Line?

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Photos: Mug Shots, FBI Photos

Comments

May 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm
(1) rose young-stewart says:

No woman or young girl would ever want to keep a child that came from one of her super ugly .. super bad captors Never in a million years would she. Every time you looked at the face of the child you would instantly think of that rapist who keep you captive for years.

May 9, 2013 at 1:41 pm
(2) project managers says:

Having read this I believed it was really enlightening.
I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this content together.
I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments.
But so what, it was still worth it!

May 9, 2013 at 10:59 pm
(3) James B says:

I believe there’s more to this story than we have now. Until I hear what the victims and the accused have to say, I can only wonder how can three healthy women be housed in the middle town without being noticed by anyone including neighbors? Why had they not tried to escape all these years until now? Were their captors running shifts to keep them from escaping? I want to know.

May 10, 2013 at 6:23 am
(4) Roberto Paton says:

Fry those Bastards that did this

May 10, 2013 at 6:41 am
(5) Roberto Paton says:

3 kidnappers they where probably running shifts. those 3 F dont deserve a trial that is their home and the woman where there a lot of years dont waste the money of Cleveland tax payers trying to prove was obvious. invest the money in the in the help of those women and the children that where born in captivity.

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