For nearly a decade, Ohio has searched vigilantly for three women from the Cleveland area who disappeared from their hometowns. Numerous vigils, city searches, and even backyard digs to uncover their remains have proven unyielding for frustrated city police and officials since 2002, when the first of these three women, Michelle Knight, went missing at age 20. The most well-known of these women, however, was Amanda Berry, who disappeared on April 21, 2003 on her way home from her job at a local Burger King. After finally achieving escape from her captor Ariel Castro’s Westside Cleveland home, Berry sought help from neighbor Charles Ramsey, who called 911 and allowed Berry to handle the rest. Gina DeJesus, now 24 and missing since 2004, was found with the two women and walked freely out of the home after Berry’s escape.
Charles Ramsey reports kicking open the door to his neighbor’s home, whom he had known since moving into the house next door seven years prior. His first reaction was one of surprise as a six-year-old girl escaped the house with Berry, and ran directly into his arms. Police will not comment on who the father of the child is, but have confirmed that she is the daughter of Amanda Berry. All three women appeared to be in good health, and were each released from a local Cleveland hospital earlier this morning.
Police refused to comment on whether or not the women had been sexually abused or raped while held captive, but various media reports claim that the women had been forced to have sex with their captor at various times, resulting in a number of pregnancies. There has been no speculation as to whether the six-year-old girl accompanying Berry is the daughter of the captor, but another police source confirmed that at least five babies were born inside the home.
There were initial reports of more children inside Castro’s home, but police have confirmed no other details on the situation. Ariel Castro, 52, and his two brothers, Pedro, 54, and Oneil, 50, have been arrested for the kidnapping of these three women and await trial in a Cleveland-area prison.