Three women who, separately, went missing approximately a decade ago have been found in a residential area just south of downtown Cleveland, tied up but alive. Three brothers have been arrested in connection with the case.
Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight finally saw freedom for the first time in a decade. While police didn’t provide details of the condition in which the women were found, law enforcement confirmed that the women appeared to be in good health and had been taken to a hospital to be reunited with relatives. In addition, they revealed that a 6-year-old had also been found in the residence where the women had been held captive.
“I heard screaming…And I see this girl going nuts trying to get outside,” said Charles Ramsey, the neighbor who found the women. “I go on the porch and she said ‘Help me get out. I’ve been here a long time.’ I figure it was a domestic violence dispute.”
Ramsey continued, “She comes out with a little girl and says ‘Call 911, my name is Amanda Berry’… When she told me, it didn’t register.” He said he made the call and handed the phone to Berry.
Additional details via The Huffington Post:
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 the other two women.
Police said one of the brothers, a 52-year-old, lived at the home. They released no names and gave no details about the others arrested or what charges they might face.
Friends and relatives of the missing women told reporters they hadn’t given up hope that they would one day be reunited with their missing loved ones. Among them was Kayla Rogers, a childhood friend of DeJesus.
“I’ve been praying, never forgot about her, ever,” said Kayla Rogers, a childhood friend of DeJesus. “This is amazing. This is a celebration. I’m so happy. I just want to see her walk out of those doors so I can hug her.”
Meanwhile, Berry’s cousin Tasheena Mitchell told The Plain Dealer newspaper that she couldn’t wait to hug Berry again. “I’m going to hold her, and I’m going to squeeze her and I probably won’t let her go,” she said. Tragically, Berry’s mother, Louwana Miller, did not live to see this momentous day, having passed away in March 2006 after a long hospitalization due to pancreatitis and other ailments. She had spent the previous three years looking for her daughter, but the stress and grief ultimately took a toll on Miller’s health, said family and friends.
“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. Again, I am thankful that these three young ladies are found and alive,” said Mayor Frank Jackson.