In a developing story, three Cleveland women who were kidnapped in 2002, 2003, and 2004 were found a few miles away from the locations where they were last seen.
On Monday, neighbors in Cleveland's west side heard the women desperately trying to get out of the house. They figured it was a case of domestic violence and broke down the door. When they broke down the door, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight and a 6-year old girl that one of them had given birth to, appeared. The women had been missing for years after being kidnapped in their teens and early 20s on their way home.
In a frantic call to the 9-11 dispatcher, one can hear Knight asking for help and saying "I'm free now." She begged the dispatcher to send the police before her kidnapper returned.
Amanda Berry was kidnapped on her way home from middle school on April 2004. Gina DeJesus called her sister to let her know that she was accepting a ride from a stranger on her way home from work at Burger King in 2003. Michelle Knight was last seen at her cousin's house in 2002.
Crowds gathered outside of the dilapidated and seemingly abandoned two-story Seymour Street home where the women had been kept for years. This case had captured the imagination of a community which wondered for years what had happened to these young women. Chains and bondage equipment have been found in the basement of the house where the women were held.
The police have arrested three brothers, ages 50, 52 and 54. Their names are Ariel, Pedro, and Oneil Castro.
Many wondered how the three women were not able to escape from the home if the men who kidnapped them were not always at home. Details of their ordeal will emerge as soon as the women are able to share their stories.
Neighbors did not at all suspect that the missing women were nearby. Even after a woman heard a scream, she did not alert the police because she could not place where it had come from.
Members of the community claim that Ariel Castro, one of the suspects, presented himself as a friendly member of the community, stopping by at the Seymour Street property for 10 minutes at a time. He was involved in the community events that occurred in this close-knit street.
"He was a nice guy, he would come around and say hi. He gave the kids rides up and down the street on his four-wheeler … um, I’ve known him since I was like 5 or 6-years old myself ... he would asked me if I wanted a ride … he seemed like he was a good guy to the kids that were here, I don't think he had any bad (attention) with the kids that were on the block but it just ... I didn’t think anything of it,” said Juan Perez, a man who grew up two houses from where the women were found.
The three women were taken to the Cleveland MetroHealth Medical Center and released on Tuesday.