Story Summary

Ohio teens found after missing 10 years

Three long-missing women — Amanda Berry, 27; Georgina “Gina” DeJesus, 23; and Michelle Knight, 32 — and a 6-year-old daughter apparently born to Berry in captivity were found alive in Cleveland, Ohio, police said. The women are believed to have been abducted years ago — in 2002, 2003 and 2004 — and held captive at a man’s home, according to police.

Three suspects, all brothers, including the home’s main resident, Ariel Castro, 52, were arrested.

Castro was charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. His brothers were not charged in the case.

 

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A 52-year-old Cleveland man was indicted Friday on 329 counts for allegedly kidnapping and holding captive three young women in his house for 10 years, authorities said.

One charge accuses him of aggravated murder for purposely causing the unlawful termination of a pregnancy, authorities said.

The indictment charges Castro with 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felonious assault and one count of possession of criminal tools, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said in a statement.

Castro will be arraigned next week, authorities said.

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Clinical psychologist Daniela Schreier

(CNN)Ariel Castro‘s brothers no longer refer to him as kin. Instead, they call him “a monster” who should rot in jail after being accused of kidnapping and holding three young women hostage in his home for a decade.

“I had nothing to do with this, and I don’t know how my brother got away with it for so many years,” Pedro Castro, 54, said when he and brother Onil Castro, 50, sat down for an exclusive interview with CNN’s Martin Savidge this weekend.

When the story first broke, the world saw all three brothers as suspects after Cleveland police arrested them last Monday and released their mugshots. It was not until Thursday that Pedro and Onil Castro were freed and investigators said the brothers had no involvement in the kidnappings.

Ariel Castro, a 52-year-old former school bus driver, remains in a Cleveland jail on $8 million bond. He’s charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.

He’s accused of abducting Michelle Knight, now 32, in August 2002 when she was 21; Amanda Berry, now 27, a day before her 17th birthday in April 2003; and Gina DeJesus, now 23, in April 2004, when she was 14. DNA tests revealed a daughter born to Berry six years ago was fathered by Castro.

“The horrific brutality and torture that the victims endured for a decade is beyond comprehension,” prosecutor Timothy McGinty said.

Pedro and Onil, who have received death threats since their arrest, spoke to CNN because they “want the world to know” they had no idea their brother was keeping the women captive in his Cleveland home all those years.

‘Who did I kidnap?

The first sign of trouble for Onil came last Monday night as he was riding with his brother after dinner at their mother’s home. Ariel suddenly turned into a McDonald’s parking lot. A police cruiser pulled his car over.

“I said, ‘What did you do, run a stop sign or a red light or something?’” he said. “He says, ‘No, no. I don’t know.’”

When Onil asked the police officer about why they were pulled over, he said, “All I can tell you is that you’re in for some serious allegations.”

“Maybe he wanted to get caught,” Onil later speculated. “Maybe time was up. Maybe he was inside too much; he wanted to get caught. But if he did it that way, he shouldn’t of went to mama’s house and picked me up and put me in a car, if he knows that was going to happen.”

Pedro was asleep at home when police woke him up.

“I was thinking because I had an open container warrant,” he said.  “So, I didn’t, I didn’t know what — I thought they was taking me in because of that.”

The brothers were held in separate cells at the jail. It would be more than 36 hours before Pedro and Onil learned the real reason they had been taken into custody.

After helping a correctional officer interpret for another Spanish-speaking inmate, Pedro asked for more details about his own case. The officer wrote the word kidnapping on a piece of paper.

“I didn’t have my reading glasses, I looked and I said, ‘Oh, open containers.’  She said ‘No, read it again.’ And I said ‘Oh!  Kidnapping!  What’s this?  Kidnapping?’” he said. “I’m thinking kidnapping. Who did I kidnap?”

Onil, in a separate cell and still unaware of the gruesome details, was able to see his brother Ariel briefly when Ariel walked by on the way to the toilet, he said.

“When he walked past me, he goes, ‘Onil, you’re never going to see me again. I love you bro.’ And that was it,” he said. “And he put his fist up for a bump.”

Ariel spoke again as Onil was on his way to be questioned by a detective, he said.

“He goes ‘Onil, I’m sorry. You didn’t know nothing about this, Onil. I’m sorry, Onil.’  And that was it.  And then that’s when I broke down on my way over there. I said, ‘What did my brother do? What did he do?’”

Minutes later in an interrogation room, Onil got his answer from a detective, and it floored him.

“When he showed me the pictures of the girls, he asked me: ‘Do you know these girls?’” Onil said.

“He says ‘Have you ever seen this girl?’ and I said ‘No, I’ve never seen that girl.’  And then he showed me the other one. ‘Have you ever seen this girl?’ and I said ‘No, I’ve never seen that girl.’  And he says ‘That’s Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry,’ and my heart fell. I just dropped, not physically, but I just, I just hit the ground.”

He was familiar with DeJesus and Berry since their photos were posted throughout his community after their disappearances. “I told him ‘They don’t look like the girls who have been pinned up and posted up” and he said ‘Yeah, that’s how malnourished they are.’”

“Oh, it was just heart-dropping,” Onil said.  “Just terrible when they said that, when he said that, ‘It’s Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, and they were in your brother’s house.’  I just couldn’t believe it because, you know, there was no signs of anything like that.  I’ve seen no signs.”

Pedro’s interrogation followed the same course.

“The detective said, ‘Well, these three girls are in your brother’s house.’  And I just, what, say that again. ‘These three girls are in your brother’s house.’  ‘What do you mean in my brother’s house?’ ‘He kept them captive.’  ‘You mean, they’re alive and in my brother’s house?’ ‘Yes.’”

Never past the kitchen

They were not allowed past the kitchen of his house in the past 10 years.

“I didn’t go to his house very much, but when I did, he would let me in not past the kitchen,” Pedro said.  “The reason why we would go in the kitchen, because he had alcohol.  And he would take me in the kitchen, give me a shot.”

His brother would cook for him sometimes, “but I would eat out on the steps,” he said.

Curtains blocked the kitchen from the rest of the 1,400-square-foot house. Ariel explained it away as an energy-saving setup, Pedro said.

Cleveland neighborhood asks: How did it happen here?

“He said he wanted to keep the heat in the kitchen because the gas bill,” Pedro said.

His brother’s home was also always filled with background noise whenever he visited, he said. He couldn’t hear what was happening in other rooms because “the radio was playing all of the time,” he said. “If not the radio, the TV. Something had to be on at all time in the kitchen. So, I couldn’t hear nothing else, but the radio or the TV.”

When asked whether that ever raised any questions for him, Pedro explained that his brother often did “strange” things.

“No, because Ariel, to me, he was a strange dude,” he said.  “I mean, it didn’t faze me none because when he said keep the heat because he gets cold real quickly.  He’s always wearing a lot of coats and stuff, so I figured well, he wants to keep the heat in.”

Onil said he saw “absolutely nothing” unusual in his brother’s backyard, and he hadn’t been inside the house in years. “The last time that I was in that house, it was in the kitchen.”

Ariel was “a little apart” from the rest of the family and “strange to me all through our lives,” he said.

“He always stayed to himself with his music,” he said. “And like I said, there would be times when we wouldn’t see him for a month, two weeks.  Mama use to say ‘Check your brother, check on your brother. He lives alone in that house. He’s a loner.  You don’t know if he’s OK or what’s going on.’  So I would text him and he would text me back.  ‘What are you doing?’ ‘I’m fine.’”

One of Ariel’s daughters gave CNN a similar description, saying when she visited her father “he would take forever to come to the door.” He would not let her in through the front of the house, Angie Gregg said.

The secret daughter

The child who investigators say Ariel Castro fathered with Berry was allowed to venture outside of the house at times, while the women stayed locked in the house. “I seen Ariel with a little girl at McDonald’s and I asked him who’s that,” Pedro said. “And he said ‘This is a girlfriend’s of mine.’”

He saw the child again with his brother weeks later at a Burger King, he said.

“And then I questioned him, where’s the mother” ‘Oh, she had to do something.’  So, I just let it go.”

“I had no idea that, that little girl was his or Amanda’s” he said.  “I had no clue.  That I learned this as the days go by, you know, after we got caught.”

Gregg said her father showed her a photo of the girl in his cell phone about two months ago, telling her it was his girlfriend’s child by somebody else.

“I figured at the most he had an illegitimate child out there, you know, and I would find out eventually,” Gregg said.

Hostage’s dad was a friend

Pedro and Onil now wonder how their brother could have interacted with the family of one of his hostages. They all knew Felix DeJesus, the father of the 14-year-old kidnapped on the way home from school nine years ago.

“I would ask him, ‘Felix, no sign of her yet, no sign of her yet? — not knowing that this monster had these young women in his house,” Onil said.

“I would shake his hand and tell him ‘Man, I’m sorry. Have you heard anything?’ and ‘Let’s just hang in there, brother,’” Pedro said.

Ariel attended a vigil for the teen after she went missing and gave her “mama a hug,” he said.

“I don’t know how he did it,” Onil said. “I’m sure he would talk to Felix, too, while his daughter was missing and played it off so good.”

“Felix, I know that you are out there listening, and you know that I was concerned about your daughter and I had not even the slightest idea that this would be going on with,” he said.

Brothers: If we had known ...

The brothers agreed on what they would’ve done if they had discovered the captives.

“I would have went straight to the police if I seen anything,” Onil said. “If I seen a curtain move or if I heard anything because there’s nobody there inside that house. Why do, why am I seeing this?  Who is that? I would have said something.”

“If I knew, I would have reported it,” Pedro said.  “Brother or no brother.” He would’ve “grabbed him by the neck” and asked “What’s up with this man?” he said.

“Yes, I would have grabbed him by my neck myself,” Onil said.

Onil considers Ariel to be a “monster,” not a brother. “The monster is a goner,” he said.

“I hope he rots in that jail,” he said. “I don’t even want them to take his life like that. I want him to suffer in that jail to the last extent.  I don’t care if they even feed him. What he has done to my life and my family’s.”

“I feel the same way,” Pedro said.  “I loved him so much. I loved him so much.  As a matter of fact, the second time I seen him going in to use the toilet, when he finished, I was by the rails and he said ‘I love you’ and we, you know, we touched fists.”

I am a walking corpse’

Onil’s and Pedro’s bitterness is intensified by the embarrassment of having their mugshots released to the world as suspects in the horrifying crime.

“I haven’t realized what is going on and why, why this happened,” Onil said. “And my life is now, I feel I’m free, I’m out here now, but I’m not free. I’m still locked in somewhere.”

He’s haunted by nightmare each night, he said. “This has torn my heart apart.  This has killed me.  I am a walking corpse right now.”

Pedro said that he, too, “is still locked up.”

“I can’t go nowhere because they think I’m a monster, too, and I’m not,” he said.  “And it just keeps going over and over in my head that people are just thinking that I did this.”

The men are in hiding in an undisclosed location. They say rocks have been thrown through their windows, and they have been receiving death threats online.

“I don’t want to be hunted down like a dog for a crime that I did not commit,” Pedro Castro said.  “I don’t want to be locked up in my house because somebody out there is going to do harm to me.  I want to be free like I was.”

“Now, I feel trapped for what somebody else did, and it’s a family member.  … They should not take it out on the family.  Threats of burning up the houses, killing Pedro, that’s not right.  You already got your monster.  Please give us our freedom.  I want the world to know this.”

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DNA tests confirm that Ariel Castro is the father of a 6-year-old girl born to one of the three women he is accused of keeping in captivity for close to a decade, the Ohio attorney general’s office said Friday.

Castro’s DNA did not match that from any other open Ohio cases, according to Dan Tierney, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office. National results are pending through the FBI, he said.

Amanda Berry’s 6-year-old daughter was among those rescued Monday when Berry escaped from the home where police say she had been held since Castro allegedly lured her into his car on April 21, 2003.

Also freed: Michelle Knight, who disappeared in 2002, and Georgina “Gina” DeJesus, who vanished in 2004.

Berry had identified Castro as the father.

ArielCastroA judge ordered Castro held Thursday on $8 million bond on kidnapping and rape charges.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said he would seek additional charges against Castro for “each and every act of sexual violence, each day of kidnapping, all his attempted murders and each act of aggravated murder.”

The attempted and aggravated murders refer to instances in which Castro allegedly forced miscarriages in his captives after impregnating them, according to McGinty.

According to an initial incident report obtained by CNN, Knight told investigators immediately after she was freed that she had become pregnant at least five times while in captivity, and that Castro repeatedly starved and punched her in the stomach to induce a miscarriage.

Prosecutors are trying to determine whether he would be eligible for the death penalty.

Meanwhile, new questions have emerged about how authorities handled the search for Knight, whose disappearance generated far less publicity and attention than did those of Berry and DeJesus.

The Plain Dealer newspaper reported Friday that Cleveland police removed Knight’s name from an FBI database of missing people 15 months after her family reported her missing.

The newspaper cited a city spokeswoman as saying police followed proper procedures in removing her name from the list because they weren’t able to reach her mother to verify that she was still missing.

But the newspaper said police department policies require that an officer verify in person that someone who has been reported missing has returned.

Cleveland police have been subject to intense criticism from some quarters over their handling of missing persons cases, and city officials have said they did everything they could to find the missing women.

While Berry and DeJesus are staying with relatives, Knight remains hospitalized in good condition. Hospital officials have declined to say what she’s being treated for.

“Michelle Knight is in good spirits and would like the community to know that she is extremely grateful for the outpouring of flowers and gifts,” the hospital said in a Facebook posting Friday. “She is especially thankful for the Cleveland Courage Fund. She asks that everyone please continue to respect her privacy at this time.”

The Cleveland Courage Fund is an effort to raise money that will help nonprofit organizations provide services to the three women.

According to the initial report, the women told investigators that they were chained in the basement of the home, but later moved upstairs to rooms on the second floor. They were allowed out of the home only twice, and then just briefly, according to the document.

Castro would frequently test the women by pretending to leave and then discipline any of them if they had moved, according to a law enforcement source.

Castro has confessed to some of the allegations, a law enforcement source closely involved with the investigation told CNN on Thursday.

Authorities have also been reviewing a lengthy document described by a law enforcement source as “more of a diary” in which the source said Castro cites being abused by family members as justification for his actions.
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The man charged with kidnapping and raping three women who were imprisoned for a decade at a house in Ohio could face even more charges. A prosecutor will seek aggravated murder charges against Ariel Castro.

Seldom does a daughter use such harsh words to describe her own father.

Ariel Castro’s daughter called him “the most evil, vile, demonic criminal” she ever heard of during a CNN exclusive interview Thursday.

“He is dead to me,” Angie Gregg said of the father police say kidnapped, held captive, raped and beat three young women in Cleveland for about a decade.

She had known her “daddy” as a “friendly, caring, doting man.”

Now shocked and in disbelief, Gregg says she never wants to see him again.

“There will be no visits; there will be no phone calls,” she said. “He can never be Daddy again. I have no sympathy for the man.”

As she mulled the accusations against him, she asked, “How could you?”

“I wonder this whole time, how he could be so good to us, but he (allegedly) took young women, little girls, someone else’s babies, away from these families and over the years never felt enough guilt to just give up and let them free.”

Gregg did not think anything out of the ordinary was going on in her childhood home.

All that changed Monday when Amanda Berry broke loose. Police freed her fellow captives Georgina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, divulging the secret locked up inside the house at 2207 Seymour Ave.

When she first heard the news about their captivity, Gregg said, she “just wanted to die.”

She had known Berry and DeJesus from her school days.

Peculiarities she noticed about her father over the years started falling into place in a new, grim light, and they are making her feel “horrified,” she said.

“This was going on right under my nose.”

An odd place to visit

When she came calling, “he would take forever to come to the door,” she said. He always had the house locked up tight.

Standing at a window, Castro would often give her a hand signal indicating to her to wait. Then he’d wave her around to the back door, not letting her in through the front of the house.

Once inside, visits were fun and cordial. Gregg, her husband and Castro “ate, looked at photos and listened to music,” she said. “He appeared to be happy to see us and never rushed for us to leave.”

At times, he would disappear from dinner and give no explanation for his absence.

The music was usually turned up loud, but Gregg thought this to be fitting since Castro was a musician.

Once she asked if she could go upstairs to see her childhood bedroom. Castro coaxed her out of the idea, telling her, “Oh, honey, there’s so much junk up there. You don’t want to go up there,” she said.

Again, she thought nothing of it, “besides him being a pack rat.”

The basement was always locked.

Clinging to the house

The list of oddities continued.

Castro clung to home, never wanting to leave for more than a day, even to visit Gregg out of state when she lived with her family in Indiana.

“He was adamant in the fact that he wanted to leave home early morning and he had to be back by evening,” Gregg said.

Her family often made travel plans with Castro that they then had to cancel because of her father’s obsession with his own four walls.

Gregg said that she never saw signs of the 6-year-old at her father’s house and that she never saw her with him. But about two months ago, he showed her a picture in his cell phone.

Gregg asked who it was.

Her father told her that the girl was his girlfriend’s child by somebody else.

“I figured at the most he had an illegitimate child out there, you know, and I would find out eventually,” Gregg said.

She asked him to get a paternity test. She wanted to know if she had another sister out there somewhere.

Now she knows that she does.

Domestic violence

Gregg recalled fond memories of growing up in the house and fun times with her father. He lined up the children in the backyard and trimmed their bangs himself, she said. He took her for rides on his motorcycle.

And he never abused her, she said, or her sisters, as far as she knows.

But he beat their mother, Grimilda Figueroa, whom he accused of fooling around with neighbors. He was very jealous, Gregg said.

“When Mom and Dad were fighting, it’s like I just wanted to melt into the ground,” she said. “I’ve seen him basically stomp on her like she was a man,” Gregg remembered.

Then after a bludgeoning, her mother had enough, and the family split up. The other children left with her mother, but Gregg stuck by Castro, believing the excuses he made for the violence. She finished growing up under his roof, she said.

A daughter divorced

Gregg is through believing in her father and is appalled at the extent of his alleged deception and cruelty.

“To go to the vigils, to show these girls the footage of their parents’ pleas for their return, to rape, starve and beat innocent human beings … I am disgusted.”

Gregg wants the girls who suffered in captivity to get the treatment they need, recover as well as they can and have the best lives possible. It was the first thing she mentioned during the interview.

She is relieved to see them and the little girl, her new sister, return to their families.

She hopes they can understand her father’s actions are not a reflection on her family.

“We don’t have monster in our blood,” she said.

Gregg’s mother died in 2012 after a bout with brain cancer. Now she has lost her father, too. She still cries for her mother, she said.

“I don’t cry for him.”

CNN’s Laurie Segall and Erica Fink reported from Cleveland; Ben Brumfield and Dana Ford wrote in Atlanta.

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Already in jail on kidnapping and rape charges, accused of holding women for the better part of a decade, Ariel Castro may also face charges of murder in the termination of his captives’ pregnancies, a prosecutor said.

Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Prosecutor Timothy McGinty cited Ohio law that states a person can be charged with aggravated murder for killing unborn children. A conviction on such charges could lead to the death penalty.

According to an initial incident report obtained by CNN, one of the women held said she became pregnant at least five times while in Castro’s 1,400-square-foot home. When that happened, Michelle Knight told investigators, Castro “starved her for at least 2 weeks, then he repeatedly punched her in the stomach until she miscarried.”

It is not known how many times, if any, the other two women got pregnant only to miscarry. One of them, Amanda Berry, gave birth to a daughter while in captivity.

In addition to aggravated murder, McGinty vowed to seek charges “for each and every act of sexual violence, rape, each day of kidnapping, every felonious assault (and) all his attempted murders.”

“The child kidnapper operated a torture chamber and private prison in the heart of the city,” the prosecutor told reporters Thursday. “The horrific brutality and torture that the victims endured for a decade is beyond comprehension.”

Earlier in the day, a handcuffed 52-year-old Castro looked down silently as he was arraigned in a northern Ohio court on four counts of kidnapping and three of rape.

“The charges against Mr. Castro are based on premeditated, deliberate and depraved decisions to snatch three young ladies from Cleveland’s West Side streets to be used in whatever self-gratifying, self-serving way he saw fit,” Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brian Murphy said in court.

Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Lauren Moore ordered Castro held on $8 million bond — $2 million for each of the three women and the child born to Berry before they were freed Monday evening.

Castro — who is receiving unemployment benefits, according to his attorney — would have to put up $800,000 in cash plus some sort of property of comparable value to the bonding company as collateral, said Charles Eddie Miller, president of the Ohio Bail Agents Association. Ohio allows bail on any charge except capital murder.

Two of his brothers were in the same courtroom Thursday, facing unrelated misdemeanor charges before their release. Authorities initially arrested Pedro and Onil Castro in connection with the case, but none of the abducted women implicated them and they weren’t charged.

In fact, while they are working “meticulously” to see if others had any involvement, authorities so far believe Ariel Castro acted alone.

“I have a sick son who has done something serious,” his mother said briefly to Univision and Telemundo. “I’m suffering very much. I ask for forgiveness from those mothers; may those girls forgive me.”

Source: Writings detail actions, reasons behind them

So what was going through the suspect’s mind, when he allegedly lured three women into a car between 2002 and 2004, took them to his home three miles away, and held them — chaining, threatening and repeatedly sexually assaulting them?

Neither Castro, his attorneys nor police have spelled out a motive publicly.

The suspect has talked with investigators, though, confessing to some of the actions he’s accused of, said a law enforcement source closely involved with the investigation. The source did not describe precisely what Castro confessed to when he was interrogated.

Plus, investigators are poring over evidence. Among the more than 200 items seized from Castro’s Seymour Avenue home are writings that they believe the suspect wrote, said two law enforcement sources closely involved in the case.

Those writings contain “specific detailing of actions and reasons behind actions” associated with the abduction of three women and their kidnapper’s behavior toward them, one of the law enforcement sources said. The source — who described the “pretty lengthy” writings as “more of a diary” — said while the writings included talk of suicide, that was just one aspect.

Furthermore, the suspect’s own history of abuse was cited as justification for his actions.

Ariel Castro’s own family, meanwhile, is trying to make sense of the ordeal, with a daughter questioning how she didn’t see the signs.

Angie Gregg, who said she “just wanted to die” upon hearing her father had been implicated, recalled to CNN how her father “kept his house locked down so tight” and would sometimes leave mysteriously for an hour or so, then return, with “no explanation.”

“Everything’s making sense now,” Gregg said. “It’s all adding up, and I’m just disgusted.”

Source: Captive threatened if another woman’s baby died

While more details continue to emerge, those out so far describe a living hell for the abducted women.

According to the initial incident report, the women said that Castro first chained them in the basement but later freed them from the chains and allowed them to live upstairs on the second floor.

They went outside only twice during their ordeal — and just “briefly” at that, Cleveland Public Safety Director Martin Flask said.

Most of the time the three would be in different rooms, though they interacted occasionally and came to “rely on each other for survival,” said a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the investigation.

One thing they could count on was that their alleged captor would never let them out.

Castro would often test the young women by pretending to leave, the law enforcement source said. Then he’d suddenly return; if there were indications any of the women had moved, they’d be disciplined.

While Knight said Castro forced her to miscarry her own unborn children, she told investigators that he ordered her to deliver Berry’s child, according to a police source familiar with the investigation.

The baby was delivered in a plastic tub or pool in order to contain the afterbirth and amniotic fluid, the source said.

But soon after Berry’s baby was born, panic ensued. The child stopped breathing, and everyone started screaming, the source said, citing accounts by the young women.

Knight said Castro threatened to kill her if the baby did not survive, the initial police report states.

“What’s most incredible here is that this girl who knows nothing about childbirth was able to deliver a baby that is now a healthy 6-year-old,” the source said.

On Thursday, Ohio Attorney General’s office spokesman Dan Tierney said that the FBI and Cleveland police have asked the state crime lab to expedite DNA tests on Berry’s child — which typically take 20 days, but should be back by Friday — to determine if Castro is the father.

‘I don’t think she would have lived very much longer’

Knight remained hospitalized in good condition Thursday, said MetroHealth Medical Center spokeswoman Tina Shaerban-Arundel.

The other women held — Berry, her 6-year-old daughter and Georgina “Gina” DeJesus — are back with relatives.

FBI specialists who talked with them say they “desperately need space and time,” said McGinty. In addition to pleading for the media and public to give them privacy, he said investigators are not rushing to interview them more extensively.

“These victims need to be decompressed,” he said. “They need a chance to heal before we seek further in-depth evidence from them.”

Those close to them, as well as the residents of Cleveland and beyond, are trying to make sense of the alleged depravity.

One of them is Arlene Castro, the suspect’s daughter and once a very good friend of DeJesus. In fact, she was interviewed on an “America’s Most Wanted” segment in 2005 talking about how she’d been with DeJesus, hoping to spend the afternoon with her, shortly before her abduction.

Speaking Thursday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” she said that she last spoke with her father late last month, adding the two had never been close. Whatever their relationship, she insisted, “I had no idea” what was happening.

“I’m really disappointed, embarrassed, mainly devastated,” Arlene Castro said. “… I would like to say that I’m absolutely so, so sorry.”

Fern Gentry said on CNN’s “Starting Point” Thursday that hearing Berry, her granddaughter, was alive 10 years after her disappearance was the “most important thing that ever happened in my life.”

Gentry, who spoke to Berry by phone from her Tennessee home Tuesday, said she’s grateful for all involved in the case — from police to helpful neighbors — and that her granddaughter can now live her life.

“If she hadn’t got out, I don’t think she would have lived very much longer,” Gentry said.
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Police found a copy of a suicide letter Castro wrote in 2004.

Legal Analyst Terry Sullivan with the latest in Ohio kidnappings suspects and Arias first-degree charges

Three long-missing women — Amanda Berry, 27; Georgina “Gina” DeJesus, 23; and Michelle Knight, 32 — and a 6-year-old daughter apparently born to Berry in captivity were found alive Monday in Cleveland, police said. The women are believed to have been abducted years ago — in 2002, 2003 and 2004 — and held captive at a man’s home, according to police.

Three suspects, all brothers, including the home’s main resident, Ariel Castro, 52, were arrested. On Wednesday, a prosecutor said that Castro is being charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. His brothers are not being charged in the case.

Here are recent developments:

New developments:

– Bail for Ariel Castro was set at $2 million per case, for a total of $8 million, at his arraignment Thursday morning in Cleveland Municipal Court. In the four cases — one case for each of the women, and one for the 6-year-old girl — he was arraigned on a total of four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. The state had asked for bail to be set at $5 million.

– Castro made “premeditated, deliberate and depraved decisions to snatch three young ladies … to be used in whatever self-gratifying, self-serving way he saw fit,” assistant prosecutor Brian Murphy said Thursday morning during Castro’s arraignment.

– The case will be transferred to a Cuyahoga County court. The prosecutor’s office for that county will handle the case, with a grand jury deciding on an indictment that could include additional counts, according to Victor Perez, chief assistant prosecutor for the city of Cleveland.

– Knight still was at Cleveland’s Metro Health Medical Center on Thursday morning, hospital spokeswoman Tina Shaerban-Arundel said. The spokeswoman has not said what Knight is being treated for, but did say that she “is in good condition.” On Tuesday, the hospital said that it had released all three rescued women. Shaerban-Arundel said that the hospital stood by its Tuesday statement, but she did not elaborate.

Previously reported developments:

– The three women and the child were rescued Monday after, according to a neighbor, screaming was heard coming from the home.

– Charles Ramsey and Angel Cordpero say they responded to the screaming by helping to kick in a door to help her escape.

– Berry and someone else called 911. “Help me, I am Amanda Berry,” she begged the operator. “I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for 10 years. And I’m here, I’m free now.”

– Authorities are discussing who might receive a reward for information that led to the rescues, Cleveland police Deputy Chief Ed Tomba saud, He singled out Charles Ramsey, Castro’s neighbor who helped free Amanda Berry and later called police. “Mr. Ramsey deserves something,” Tomba said. “He is the true key to the case.”

– In addition to Berry, police found DeJesus and Knight at the home; all three said they were held captive there, according to authorities.

– Police later arrested Ariel Castro, who’s identified as a former school bus driver, and his two brothers. All three Castro brothers were together when they were arrested, at which time authorities felt “we had enough probable cause to bring them into custody,” said Tomba. But over the course of the investigation, officials “found no facts to link” Onil and Pedro Castro to the kidnapping case.

– Onil and Pedro Castro are set to appear Tkhursday morning in Cleveland Municipal Court related to outstanding warrants for misdemeanor cases, Victor Perez, chief assistant prosecutor for the city of Cleveland, said late Wednesday afternoon. Tomba said that the judge will then determine whether the two men get credit for time served and are released.

– In charging documents for Ariel Castro released Wednesday, police said that Castro lured Knight into his vehicle on Lorain Avenue on August 22, 2002, took her to his home, and over the subsequent years “repeatedly sexually assaulted” her. Police laid out the same scenario for Berry, who was allegedly lured into Castro’s vehicle on the same road on April 21, 2003. DeJesus was allegedly lured into Castro’s vehicle on April 2, 2004, and, like the other two women, sexually assaulted repeatedly in the subsequent years.

– Angel Cordero, who helped rescue Berry and her daughter, said he told her they had to leave quickly before the suspect returned home. “I said, ‘Let’s get out of here, because if that guy arrives he’s going to kill us. If he finds me here, he is going to kill me. He’ll kill you.” Cordero also told CNN en Español that Berry’s daughter did not appear accustomed to being around many people. She was wearing only a diaper and a sullied shirt, the rescuer said.

– Knight, of Cleveland, was reported missing by a family member on on August 23, 2002, said Martin Flask, Cleveland’s public safety director. She was 21 at the time, according Cleveland police.

– Berry was last seen after finishing her shift at a Burger King in Cleveland in 2003. It was the eve of her 17th birthday.

– DeJesus, of Cleveland, disappeared nearly a year later, in April 2004. She was 14.

– The three women hadn’t left Ariel Castro’s property and had only gone outside “on two separate occasions … briefly” in the years in which they were held captive, Flask said.

– Ariel Castro would often test his captives by pretending to leave, then returning suddenly to discipline them if they made any move to escape, a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the investigation told CNN. Amanda Berry “just knew” that (suspect Ariel) Castro was gone at the time and “had hit her breaking point,” according to the source.

– The women “relied on each other for survival,” a law enforcement source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation said. The three interacted during their captivity, though they were typically kept in separate rooms, according to the source.

– A paternity test will be conducted to determine whether Ariel Castro is the biological father of the 6-year-old daughter of Berry who was freed Monday, said Tomba. The girl was born while her mother was held captive.

– When Berry escaped, the two other women could have run but chose not to, the law enforcement source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation said. The two other women who did not flee had “succumbed” to “their reality,” the source said, describing them as brainwashed and fearful.

– None of the three women was bound on the day they were freed, according to the source. Earlier, Cleveland’s police chief told NBC’s “Today” show that “we have confirmation that they were bound, and there (were) chains and ropes in the home.”

– Knight’s missing persons report from the Cleveland Police Department describes her as having “mental abnormalities”; many family members seemed to be unaware that she was missing.

– Knight’s mother told NBC on Wednesday that she cried when she heard her daughter was found. Barbara Knight told NBC that she had been looking for her daughter during the years she was gone. “She’s probably angry at the world because she thought she would never be found, but thank God that somebody did.” She was asked what she would say to Michelle if and when she got to see her. “I love you and I missed you all this time,” she said.

– Gina DeJesus was greeted by cheers when she returned Wednesday afternoon to a family home in Cleveland.

– Her aunt, Sandra Ruiz, expressed thanks Wednesday afternoon for those who supported the family over the years. “There are not enough words to say or express the joy that we feel … for the return of … Gina,” Ruiz said.

– The aunt also asked the community not to forget Ashley Summers, who was last seen in July 2007. “Now we need to… rally together to look next door and bring …. Ashley Summers, home,” Ruiz said, adding that her family feels connected in spirit to missing people like Summers.

– But the investigation thus far hasn’t led to any new information on Ashley Summers, who was 14 when she went missing in 2007, said Tomba. He said “her disappearance was part of the questioning” of the three Castro brothers who were initially arrested.

– Late Wednesday morning, authorities escorted Berry, her daughter and her sister, Beth Serrano, to Serrano’s Cleveland house. Serrano came outside and talked to reporters briefly, saying: “Our family would request privacy so my sister, niece and I can have time to recover. … Please respect our privacy until we are ready to make our statements.” Police initially said Berry would address the media, but it was later announced that she would not speak publicly Wednesday.

– A fund has been set up — the Cleveland Courage Fund — to raise money for the long-missing women and others affected, the city of Cleveland announced Wednesday on Twitter. Money will go toward supporting those who have been held captive and organizations that assist them.

– By 5 p.m. Wednesday, law enforcement authorities had “completed their search” of Ariel Castro’s home, said Flask, Cleveland’s public safety director. More than 200 items were taken from the house, which Tomba said “was in quite a bit of disarray” when officers entered.

– Law enforcement authorities Wednesday afternoon searched a boarded-up house and detached garage two doors down from the Cleveland home of Ariel Castro. FBI agents in protective suits were on site, accompanied by dogs. Some of the agents carried shovels.

– New information “provided us enough probable cause to seek another search warrant” for a second Seymour Avenue home — two doors down from Ariel Castro’s house — that authorities searched Wednesday, said Tomba. He did not specify what information led authorities to search the boarded-up house.

– Nina Samoylicz, who lives near Ariel Castro’s home, said she called police about three years ago after spotting a naked woman in the backyard of Castro’s house. Samoylicz said when she called out to the woman, a man told the woman to get in the house, then ran in himself. “(Police) thought we was playing, joking, they didn’t believe us,” Samoylicz said.

– Faliceonna Lopez, Samoylicz’s sister, told a slightly different version of events Tuesday on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live.” She said that after seeing the naked woman, they told their mother, not police. The mother, Annita Lugo, told Morgan that she didn’t call police, either, saying, “I definitely would have called them, but it was hours later and I really — I really didn’t — you know, I was just stuck. I was dumbfounded, didn’t know how to take it, you know?”

– Sgt. Sammy Morris, a Cleveland police spokesman, told CNN that the department had no record of a 911 call reporting a naked woman at Castro’s address. And on Wednesday, a city spokeswoman said flatly that there was no truth to claims that any reports were made.

– Another neighbor, Israel Lugo, said he heard yelling in the house in November 2011 and called police to investigate, but they left after no one answered the door. Police took to Twitter on Wednesday to deny that they received a call about “women held or women banging on windows.”

– Officials have no indication that anybody living near the Cleveland home ever called authorities about anything suspicious there, Flask said Tuesday. He said that assessment is based on an initial review of city databases; officials will continue to examine the databases, he said.

– Since the first woman’s disappearance, police were called to the home once — in January 2004 — Flask said. Investigators were there at the request of Children and Family Services to investigate a complaint that Castro left a child on a school bus while he was working as a school bus driver, Flask said. Investigators knocked on the home’s door but were “unsuccessful in making contact.” The matter was later dropped when investigators determined that Castro had no criminal intent in the bus incident, he added.

– Amanda Berry’s grandmother, Fern Gentry of Tennessee, told CNN on Thursday that hearing that Berry was alive 10 years after her disappearance was the “most important thing that ever happened in my life.” Gentry, who spoke to Berry by phone from her Tennessee home Tuesday, said she was thankful for people who helped in her rescue. “If she hadn’t got out, I don’t think she would have lived very much longer. … It’s just a miracle she appeared back with us. … I can’t wait to see her and the baby.”

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