Three women and a child have been discovered in a residential area of Cleveland’s west side on Monday. Amanda Berry, missing since 2003 at the age of 16; Gina DeJesus, missing since 2004 at the age of 14; Michelle Knight, whose history is unknown at this time; and Amanda Berry’s 6-year-old girl daughter, according to the Cleveland Police investigation update.
The investigations into the separate kidnapping cases have been ongoing, but the most noteworthy spikes in activity were all dead ends based on weak or completely false tips. According to the Huffington Post, police dug up a concrete garage floor based on a tip in 2006 to search for the remains of Gina’s body using a cadaver dog, but they only located 19 pieces of evidence, the significance of which were not discussed.
Then in 2012, prison inmate Robert Wolford provided a false tip to Amanda’s burial location, claiming Amanda’s remains were buried in a Cleveland lot, which was dug up with backhoes. He was sentenced in January of this year with four-and-a-half years of jail time for making a false report and making a false alarm.
The girls were discovered on Monday inside a home at 2207 Seymour Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio, when a neighbor, Charles Ramsey, says he heard screams and went to investigate. (Learn more about Charles’ unintentionally heroic feat that set the four girls free from their captors of almost 10 years.)
Amanda’s emotional 911 call was played on CNN’s Piers Morgan Live. The frantic girl can be heard crying and trying to explain to the dispatcher who she is and that she has been on the news for the last 10 years. She provides her address, the name of her captor, and that he is roughly 52 years old. She also gets frantic when the dispatcher says he’ll send the next available car, saying, “No, I need them now before he gets back.” Amanda and the girls were discovered while their captor was out of the house.
A police car was on the scene in under two minutes after Amanda’s 911 call, and at 7:31 p.m. last night, Cleveland police tweeted that the missing Cleveland girls had officially been found and were doing well.
Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland Office Steven Anthony remarked at a recent press conference concerning the girls’ discovery, “Prayers have finally been answered, the nightmare is finally over.”
Three brothers living in the home where the girls were found have since been arrested and are awaiting charges, according to the Cleveland police: They have been identified as Ariel Castro, Pedro Castro, and Oneil Castro.
Friends and family members of the girls have been contacted, expressing that they never gave up hope that the girls would someday be found.
Amanda’s cousin Tasheena Mitchell told The Plain Dealer newspaper that she plans to hold on to Amanda and “I probably won’t let her go.”
Sadly, Amanda’s mother, Louwana Miller, passed away in 2006 after struggling with pancreatitis, but she had spent the previous three years searching for her daughter. Friends and family said that since Amanda disappeared, it had taken a horrible toll on her mother’s health.
"I've been praying, never forgot about her, ever," Gina DeJesus’s friend Kayla Rogers told the newspaper. "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."
Sources: Huffington Post, CNN, Twitter, The Plain Dealer
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