Three women were rescued Monday afternoon from a home in Cleveland. Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight all went missing roughly 10 years ago, when Berry was 16, DeJesus 14 and Knight was 20. All three are alive, talking, and apparently in good health, according to police.
The three were rescued by a neighbor, Charles Ramsey.
“I heard screaming… And I see this girl going nuts trying to get outside,” Ramsey said. “I go on the porch and she said ‘Help me get out. I’ve been here a long time.’ I figure it was domestic violence dispute."
“She comes out with a little girl and says ‘Call 911, my name is Amanda Berry’… When she told me, it didn’t register."
Ramsey then called 911. When police arrived, they told Ramsey who he'd rescued. Ramsey told reporters that a four or five year-old-girl was with Berry when she escaped, and that there were other young children in the home.
Berry has been missing since April 2, 2003, the day before her 17th birthday. She disappeared after telling her sister she'd accepted a ride home from the Burger King where she worked. Her disappearance made headlines again last summer, when a man told Cleveland police that Berry was buried in a vacant parking lot. Police searched the lot, tearing it apart with backhoes, but found nothing. Eventually the man, Robert Wolford, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and was sentenced to four and a half years.
DeJesus went missing in April 2004 at age 14 as she was walking home from her middle school. Knight was last seen leaving her cousin's home in 2002, when she was 21. All three women were found within miles of where they'd disappeared.
Cleveland police have confirmed they've arrested a 53-year-old suspect.
UPDATE 12:50 AM: CBS News is reporting the woman in the center of this photo is Amanda Berry. Her sister is to the left. Earlier versions of the photo handout included a girl said to be Berry's daughter, whom she gave birth to in captivity.
UPDATE 11:57 PM: Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba told local reporters that the three suspects are brothers, aged 50, 52 and 54. All three are being held in city jail, awaiting charges.
The three women were taken to a local hospital. All three are in stable condition.
And WOIO-TV in Cleveland is citing an “investigative source” who said chains were found hanging from the home's ceiling.
WOIO-TV: Investigative source says chains found hanging from ceiling in Cleveland home, signs of dirt moved or excavating in backyard— Jon Passantino (@passantino) May 7, 2013
UPDATE 11:37 PM: Betsy Kling of WKYC is reporting that two of Ariel Castro's brothers were arrested as suspects.
@wkyc Prime suspect is 52 y/o Ariel Castro... 2 additional suspects arrested, allegedly Ariel's brothers— Betsy Kling - WKYC (@BetsyKling) May 7, 2013
UPDATE 11:21 PM: According to reports, this is the Facebook page for Ariel Castro, the 52-year-old suspect in the kidnappings. It's worth noting that information like this is often incorrect in the immediate aftermath of breaking news, but more and more evidence has emerged linking the suspect to the profile.
A link to the page was tweeted by Cleveland Plain-Dealer reporter Rachel Dissell, who noted that the page listed Castro as a bass player in a tropical/merengue band. In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, the suspect's uncle said, "[Ariel] was a musician, a great bass player.” The Facebook page includes several pictures and updates about playing the bass.
Sara Shookman, a reporter for Cleveland's WKYC, reported that it was Castro's son, Anthony, who penned this 2004 article about DeJesus and Berry's disappearance. Shookman noted that Anthony Castro was then a journalist at Bowling State.
One of Ariel Castro's Facebook friends is an Anthony Castro who studied journalism at Bowling Green. Shookman also spoke to Anthony Castro.
Ariel "Anthony" Castro, the suspect's son who wrote of DeJesus, tells me: "This is beyond comprehension...I'm truly stunned right now."— Sara Shookman (@SaraShookman) May 7, 2013
This is a picture from Ariel Castro's Facebook page:
UPDATE 11:03 PM: Sara Shookman of WKYC in Cleveland is reporting that the author of the below article was Ariel Castrol's son, Anthony, who was a journalism student at Bowling Green State University at the time.
I'm talking to Anthony Castro right now, the son of Ariel Castro. While a BGSU student, he wrote this in 2004. twitter.com/SaraShookman/s…— Sara Shookman (@SaraShookman) May 7, 2013
UPDATE 10:30 PM: In a strange twist, someone named Ariel Castro — the same name as the suspect — wrote a 2004 article in a West Side neighborhood newspaper about how his neighborhood was coping with the disappearances of DeJesus and Berry.
The author interviewed DeJesus’ mother, Nancy Ruiz, and a group of parents waiting for their children to be released from Wilbur Wright Middle School. They spoke of the need for greater security and the fear that had settled upon the neighborhood.
“For seven weeks, Gina’s family has been organizing searches, holding prayer vigils, posting fliers and calling press conferences,” Castro wrote. “Despite the many tips and rumors that have been circulating in the neighborhood, there has been no sign of her. One thing is for certain, however. Almost everyone feels a connection with the family, and Gina’s disappearance has the whole area talking.”
It is unclear whether the author is the suspect.
Here's a link to the full article.
UPDATE 10:18 PM: The Plain-Dealer is also reporting that police arrested Ariel Castro, 52, the owner of the home.
Castro, who Ramsey said took off running after the rescue, was arrested at a nearby McDonald's. “We never thought that man would do anything to anybody,” [neighbor Victoria] Pratts said. “He was a bus driver.”
And here's another interview with Ramsey:
[Image via AP]