Three abducted women found in Cleveland after missing for ten years

(MAY 7, 2013)  A distressed 911 call led to the rescue of three women who have been missing for over a decade.

“Hello, please, help me, I’m Amanda Berry,” one of the captive women pleaded to the 911 operator in a phone call on Monday night.

Berry used the neighbour’s phone to call 911 after she escaped from the house of her captors. The neighbour, Anna Tejeda, said she was sitting on her porch when she heard screams coming from inside the house across the street. Tejeda said one of her friends told Berry to kick the screen out from the door, which allowed the woman to crawl out. Tejeda then gave the terrified woman the phone to call the police.

Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus and Michelle Knight have been held captive in the house since their late teens and early twenties. They were rescued on Monday evening and reunited with their families.

The three women appeared to be in good health, and were sent to the hospital for a mandatory evaluation following the rescue. The women have since been released into the loving embraces of their relatives, who never gave up hope to see their loved ones alive.

Authorities have arrested three brothers, Ariel Castro, 52; Pedro Castro, 54; and Onil Castro, 50, in relation to the kidnapping. Ariel Castro was the owner of the house where the women were held against their will. Attempts to reach Ariel Castro in jail have been unsuccessful.

A six-year-old girl was also found in the home, who is thought to be Berry’s daughter. Police believe one of the captors fathered the child, but they decline to provide any more information at this point.

Along with the celebrations of the women’s return is the frustration with the Cleveland’s finest. Investigators said that no tips have been received about the criminal activity at the house in the past decade.

However, two neighbours said they have called the police to report suspicious activity at the  Castro residence. One of the neighbours, Elsie Cintron, said she called the police after her daughter saw a naked woman crawling in the backyard. Cintron said the police did not take her report seriously. Another neighbour, Israel Lugo, said he often heard banging on the doors on the house. Lugo said the police officer knocked on the door, and when there was no answer, walked away.

According to the police, all women disappeared within three years of one another. Knight disappeared in 2002 at age 20, and is now 32. Berry disappeared on April 21, 2003; she never came home from work at the age 16, and is now 27. DeJesus was kidnapped on her way home from school in 2004, at the age 14, and is now 22.

This article was originally published on the BCIT News website.

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