by CHRISTINE ABRAHAM Photographer
Three young women who had been missing at different times when they were teenagers were found alive at a residence in Cleveland, and the man responsible was arrested on Monday, May 6.
One of the women, identified as Amanda Berry, told a 911 dispatcher that the person who had taken her was gone, and she begged for police officers to come, saying, “I’m free now.”
Overjoyed crowds gathered Monday night on the street where Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight were held captive. A six-year-old girl was also found in the home.
Police did not provide much information on how any of the women were found, but said that they appeared to be in good health and were taken to the hospital to be evaluated and reunited with their families.
On a released recorded 911 call, you hear Berry saying, “I’m Amanda Berry. I’ve been on the news for the last 10 years. I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for 10 years. And I’m here. I’m free now.”
The women escaped after Berry broke out the bottom screen door, calling for help, which startled neighbor Charles Ramsey who came over and helped kick in the door.
Berry disappeared at age 16 on April 21, 2003 after she called her sister to let her know she was getting a ride home from her job at Burger King. DeJesus went missing a year later at age 14 on the way home from school. The two captives were both found just miles away from where they were taken.
Knight went missing in 2002 at age 20 and is now 32 today.
Fifty-two-year-old Ariel Castro is the owner of the home and the main suspect for kidnapping the three women.
Castro has been charged with four counts of kidnapping, covering the captives and his daughter who was born to Berry, and three counts of rape against all three women.
“What I don’t understand is how those girls weren’t able to get out at all for ten years! That’s crazy,” said sophomore Alyssa Clemente.
In a handwritten suicide note was found in the house, Castro confessed to abducting the three women and stated that he was abused and raped by an uncle.
Castro also provided information on how he took each of the victims who went missing in their teens and early 20s. FBI agents discovered the note by searching the home the week the women were found.
In the 2004 dated note, Castro allegedly said that he was going to commit suicide, and that when he dies, he wants all his money to go to his victims.
Also in the house was Berry’s six-year-old daughter. A paternity test confirmed her to be Castro’s daughter.
Berry was impregnated about five times and each time Castro would punch her in the stomach and starve her for two weeks to have a miscarriage.
DeJesus and Knight were forced to help deliver the child in a kiddie pool and if the baby did not survive, Castro told them he would kill Berry.
“How did no one find them for this long! This man deserves to spend time in jail for the rest of his life. Thank god all three of the victims are alright,” said sophomore Rachel Fawzy.