7 May 2013

Cleveland missing women found: police name arrested men

Police name three men arrested in relation to the missing women rescued from a house in Cleveland on Monday as Ariel, Pedro and O’Neal Castro.

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were freed from the house after a neighbour heard screaming. All three women were reported to have been kidnapped between 2002 and 2004.

Police said that the three brothers, aged 50, 52 and 54, had been arrested in connection with the disappearance of the three women. Ariel Castro has been reported as being a local school bus driver.

These three young ladies have provided us with the ultimate definition of survival and perseverance. Steve Anthony, FBI

Police said the house the women were rescued from was where Ariel lived. His brothers live at separate addresses.

Cleveland police chief Michael McGrath said: “Thankfully, due to Amanda’s brave actions, these women are alive today. Three men have been arrested in this case and they are Ariel Castro, 52 years old, a brother Pedro, 54 years old, and another brother O’Neal, 50 years old.

“The original taskforce will now continue the follow up investigation relative to the recovery of and processing of the scene, interviewing and the investigation.”

Steve Anthony, special agent in charge of the Cleveland office of the FBI, said: “These three young ladies have provided us with the ultimate definition of survival and perseverance. The healing can now begin.”

He added: “While we celebrate today, we and our law enforcement partners continue to work shoulder to shoulder with Cleveland police department to answer the many questions that investigators have.

“And rest assured the FBI will bring every resource to bear to assist our partners in this case to bring the full weight of justice behind those responsible for this horrific, horrific case.”

Police also confirmed that a six-year-old child of one of the women was found at the house.

Tomba and Police Chief Michael McGrath said the women had probably been in the same house for the whole time they were missing.

‘I’m free now’

A neighbour, Charles Ramsey (in video, above), was alerted to the shouts of Ms Berry on Monday. The door to the house was locked, but he freed her by kicking in the bottom of the door. They then called 911.

In the call, Ms Berry said: “Help me! I’m Amanda Berry. … I’ve been kidnapped and I’ve been missing for 10 years and I’m here. I’m free now.”

During the call, she gave the name of her alleged abductor, said he was “out of the house” and urged police to come quickly.

Mr Ramsey, said in an interview broadcast by CNN that when he arrived, Berry appeared desperate to get through the door, which did not open properly. He also called 911 for her.

“I see this girl going nuts trying to get outside,” he said. “Then I realized I’m calling 911 for Amanda Berry. I thought that girl was dead.” He also said a little girl had emerged from the house with Ms Berry.

Missing for a decade

All three women were taken to a hospital, MetroHealth Medical Center, where Dr Gerald Maloney told a news conference they were all safe and “appear to be in fair condition”.

Amanda Berry went missing the day before her 17th birthday in April 2003. She was last seen leaving her job at a fast food restaurant.

Gina DeJesus, 23, vanished in 2004 aged 14 while walking home from school. Michelle Knight, was reported to have been 20 when she went missing in 2002.

Police said one of the suspects owned the house where the women were found, while the two others lived at other addresses in the area. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said: “I am thankful that Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight have been found alive.”

“We have many unanswered questions regarding this case, and the investigation will be ongoing,” he added.