3 missing women found in Ohio, 3 brothers arrested

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 7, 2013 at 2:22 am •  Published: May 7, 2013
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Three women who went missing separately about a decade ago were found Monday in a home just south of downtown and likely had been tied up during years of captivity, said police, who arrested three brothers. One of the women said she had been abducted and told a 911 dispatcher in a frantic call, "I'm free now."

Crowds gathered Monday night on the street near the home where the city's police chief said he thought Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight had been held since they went missing when they were in their teens or early 20s.

The women appeared to be in good health and were taken to a hospital to be evaluated and to reunite with relatives. Police said a 6-year-old also was found in the home, but the child's identity or relationship to anyone in the home wasn't revealed.

Neighbors said they heard someone kicking at a door, yelling for help and trying desperately to get outside the house.

A neighbor, Charles Ramsey, told WEWS-TV he saw Berry, whom he didn't recognize, at a door that would open only enough to fit a hand through.

"I heard screaming," he said. "I'm eating my McDonald's. I come outside. I see this girl going nuts trying to get out of a house."

Anna Tejeda, who lives across the street, said Berry was nervous, crying and appeared dressed in pajamas and old sandals after she kicked out the screen in a door to escape and call police. Tejeda speaks Spanish, and a friend translated her comments to The Associated Press.

On a recorded 911 call Monday, Berry declared, "I'm Amanda Berry. I've been on the news for the last 10 years."

She said she had been taken by someone and begged for police officers to arrive at the home on Cleveland's west side before he returned.

"I've been kidnapped, and I've been missing for 10 years," she told the dispatcher. "And I'm here. I'm free now."

Berry disappeared at age 16 on April 21, 2003, when she called her sister to say she was getting a ride home from her job at a Burger King. DeJesus went missing at age 14 on her way home from school about a year later. They were found just a few miles from where they had gone missing.

Police said Knight went missing in 2002 and is 32 now. They didn't provide current ages for Berry or DeJesus.

Police said one of the brothers, a 52-year-old, lived at the home, and the others, ages 50 and 54, lived elsewhere. Authorities released no names and gave no details about them or what charges they might face.

Ramsey, the neighbor, said he'd barbecued with the home's owner and never suspected something was amiss.

"There was nothing exciting about him — well, until today," he said.

Julio Castro, who runs a grocery store half a block from where the women were found, said the homeowner arrested is his nephew, Ariel Castro.

Berry also identified Ariel Castro by name in her 911 call.

Attempts to reach Ariel Castro in jail were unsuccessful Monday. Messages to the sheriff's office and a jail spokesman went unanswered, and there was no public phone listing for the home, which was being searched by dozens of police officers and sheriff's deputies.

The uncle said Ariel Castro had worked as a school bus driver. The Cleveland school district confirmed he was a former employee but wouldn't release details.