Three women, Amanda Berry, Georgina DeJesus, and Michele Knight, who had been missing for between nine and eleven years, were found alive on May 6, 2013. They were found in a house belonging to Ariel Castro, one of the suspects in their disappearances, in the community of Tremont, a neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. The six-year-old daughter of Amanda Berry also escaped.[1][2] The three women did not know each other prior to their disappearances.


Michele Knight

Michele Knight was last seen leaving her cousin’s house on August 22, 2002. She was 20[3] at the time of her disappearance.[4][5] At the time family members believed that Knight may have left on her own over frustration resulting from losing custody of her son. She disappeared near West 116 and Lorain.[6] A family member thought they once saw her in a van with an older man at a shopping plaza on West 117th Street.[7]

Amanda Berry

Amanda Marie Berry went missing on April 21, 2003. She was one day shy of her 17th birthday[8] She was coming home from her job at Burger King at West 110th and Lorain Ave. She is believed to have made it home, where she changed from her uniform, but no one saw her at home.[9] She left money and all her clothes at home and had plans to celebrate her 17th birthday the next day.[9]

Police initially considered Amanda Berry a runaway until a man used her cell phone to call her mother, Louwanna Miller, claiming the teen would return in a few days and that they were now married.[9] Miller searched for her daughter for three years but died in 2006 of heart failure.[10]

Amanda was featured in a 2004 segment of America's Most Wanted which re-aired in 2005 and 2006 and linked her to Gina DeJesus.[10][11] They were profiled on The Montel Williams Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show.[12]

Before her disappearance Amanda had been in the gifted program at John Marshall High School but had switched to an online home school program where she was on track for an early graduation.[9]

Georgina DeJesus

Georgina "Gina" Lynn DeJesus went missing at age 14.[13] She was last seen at a pay phone about 3 p.m. on April 2, 2004, as she headed home from middle school at West 105th and Lorain. She and a friend had called the friend's mother seeking permission for a sleepover at DeJesus' house, but the answer was no. Berry and DeJesus disappeared within five blocks of each other,[14] or even on the same block.[15]


No Amber Alert was issued the day DeJesus disappeared because no one witnessed her abduction. The lack of an Amber Alert angered her father, Felix DeJesus, who said in 2006 he believed the public will listen even if the alerts become routine.[16]

A week after Gina's disappearance police released a sketch and description of an Hispanic man aged 25 to 35, 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) tall, weighing 165 to 185 pounds (75 to 82 kg), with green eyes and a pencil-thin beard. The suspect had been seen near her school driving a light blue or white car and asking for Gina.[17]

DeJesus was featured on America's Most Wanted in 2004, 2005 and 2006 who also linked her to Berry.[18] The disappearances received regular media attention over the years, as recently as 2012, while family and others held vigils and searched for Gina and Amanda. Police had an active investigation, offering a $25,000 reward for information on their location.[19][20]

Discovery and aftermath

Berry, DeJesus, and Knight as well as a 6-year-old girl[21] were found in a residential area at 2207 Seymour Avenue,[22] just south of downtown Cleveland within a few miles of where they disappeared. The 6-year old unidentified girl is the child of Amanda Berry.[23] A witness, Charles Ramsey, said he heard a woman inside the house screaming for help. Because the door was locked, he kicked a hole in it. The woman called 911 after breaking out of the house and said, "Help me; I am Amanda Berry," she said, "I've been kidnapped and I've been missing for 10 years. And I'm here and I'm free now."[24]

All three women and the child were taken to MetroHealth Medical Center and they were reportedly suffering from severe dehydration and slightly malnourished, but otherwise in good health[25] They were all released from the hospital by the next morning.

Arrests and charges

A 52-year-old male named Ariel Castro and his two brothers, Pedro Castro, 54, and Oneil Castro, 50, were arrested on May 6, 2013, shortly after the women escaped.[26]

Investigation developments

The women were sometimes kept in "chains and bondage" in the basement.[27]

Suspects' background

Ariel Castro

Ariel Castro knew the DeJesus family and his family had grown up in the same west Cleveland neighborhood, according to his uncle, Julio Castro,[28] who runs a grocery store half a block from the Castro house.[29] Castro used to work as a bus driver for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District[28] but was fired in November 2012 for making an illegal U-turn with children on the bus.[30] Castro lived in the two-story house located on Seymour Avenue since 1992. Neighbors described him as normal, someone who mostly kept to himself, and someone who usually entered and exited his home through the back door.[31] Castro's Facebook page shows a man interested in motorcycles and the bass guitar.[31]

Castro was arrested for domestic violence in 1993, but a grand jury declined to indict him.[32] Castro was also arrested in December 1993 for disorderly conduct. He pleaded guilty to the charge. Castro was stopped six times by Cleveland Police between 1995 and 2008 for traffic violations.[33]

Pedro Castro and Oneil Castro

Pedro and Oneil Castro have addresses elsewhere in Cleveland.[34]

Investigation prior to discovery

Local police and the FBI have maintained active investigations since the disappearances, following many leads.

The son of suspect Ariel Castro, also named Ariel Castro but known as Anthony, wrote an article in June 2004 about the disappearances for the Plain Press when he was a journalism student at Bowling Green State University.[32][35] He even interviewed the mother of Gina DeJesus for the piece. The father-son relationship and authorship of the article was confirmed by CNN in a phone interview with Anthony Castro.[citation needed]

Other criminal charges related to the investigation

In January 2013, Robert Wolford, a prison inmate who used to live in the neighborhood where the girls disappeared from, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice, making a false report and making a false alarm for providing a false burial tip in the disappearance of Berry. He was taken to a location in Cleveland, which was dug up with backhoes, and the police found nothing.[16][10]

Disappearance of Ashley Summers

Police have been investigating as possibly related[36] the disappearance of Ashley Nicole Summers, born June 16, 1993 and last seen July 6, 2007. Summers also disappeared from the same five-block area in Cleveland as the girls who were found. She was initially reported as a runaway after a family argument, when she took her clothes. She called her mother a month later to say she was well, but she has not been heard from since. She may have been spotted in a car in November 2007 by a relative.[37][14]

See also

External link


  1. Sheeran, Thomas. Frantic 911 Call Leads to 3 Missing Women in Ohio. ABC News. Retrieved on 7 May 2013.
  2. "Three US women missing for years in fair condition". 7 May 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  4. Seitz, Colleen. "Michelle Knight, missing Cleveland woman, disappeared in 2002 Read more:". Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  5. "Three brothers arrested over Cleveland abductions". Reuters. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  6. The three girls abducted in Cleveland all went missing on the SAME BLOCK and were held captive three miles away. Daily Mail Reporter. Retrieved on 7 May 2013.
  7. Atassi, Leila. Berry, DeJesus, Knight found alive, police source confirms. The Plain Dealer. Retrieved on 7 May 2013.
  8. Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus, Michele Knight, Ohio women missing about a decade, found alive, report says
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 The Charley Project: Amanda Marie Berry. Retrieved on 7 May 2013.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Search continues for Amanda Berry's body on West Side of Cleveland |
  11. AMW | Missing Children | Amanda Berry | Case
  12. Page 2: Daughter Found With 3 Women Missing for a Decade - ABC News
  13. Six long days, Gina still missing Parents, police, city officials focus on case at community meeting |
  14. 14.0 14.1 Three teens disappear from same neighborhood -
  15. Missing Ohio girls were found just 3 MILES from Cleveland block were they disappeared despite huge police search | Mail Online
  16. 16.0 16.1 3 missing women found in Cleveland, Ohio; man arrested
  17. The Charley Project: Georgina Lynn DeJesus
  18. AMW | Missing Children | Gina DeJesus | Case
  19. Vigil today for Gina DeJesus, missing for eight years |
  20. New search for Gina DeJesus comes up empty Family's day is filled with anxiety, relief |
  21. 3 brothers arrested as missing women found in Ohio. Shreveport Times. Retrieved on 7 May 2013.
  22. Cleveland police: Missing teens Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus found alive, appear to be OK. News 5 Cleveland. Retrieved on 7 May 2013.
  23. 3 Three women escape US dungeon after missing for 10 YEARS. The Sun. Retrieved on 7 May 2013.
  24. 911 call -- 'I've been kidnapped!' -- cops find three women missing for years. CNN. Retrieved on 7 May 2013.
  25. 2 WOMEN, MISSING FOR A DECADE, FOUND ALIVE IN OHIO. AP. Retrieved on 7 May 2013.
  26. They are in custody with formal charges pending.3 men arrested in Ohio kidnapped women case are brothers: Ariel Castro, Pedro Castro and Oneil Castro
  28. 28.0 28.1 Police: No indication women were being held at home -
  29. Frantic 911 Call Leads to 3 Missing Women in Ohio |
  30. Ariel Castro Arrested as Suspect in Abduction and Disappearance of Three Cleveland Women | Cleveland Leader
  31. 31.0 31.1 Suspect accused of taking three teens arrested with his brothers
  32. 32.0 32.1 Berry, DeJesus, Knight found alive, police source confirms |
  33. Ariel Castro owns home where missing women Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight found
  35. Son of accused had written about missing Cleveland teen. USA Today. Retrieved on 7 May 2013.
  36. Cleveland missing women: Three rescued after decade in captivity -
  37. The Charley Project: Ashley Nicole Summers
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