By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/7/2013 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
It's a horrific story with a happy ending. Three Cleveland area-women, missing for 10 years, have been found alive and well in a home where they were forced to give birth to children. Three brothers have since been arrested in connection with the women's kidnapping and imprisonment.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Fifty-two-year-old Ariel Castro, who owned the property, along with his brothers Onil, 50, and Pedro, 54, kept the women prisoners and forced them to give birth at the home.
Police say that at least five babies were born at the home, while one of the victims suffered as many as three miscarriages because she was so malnourished. There are also reports that the three captors would beat the women when they were pregnant, meaning that the babies would not survive.
A six-year-old girl who was found alive at the home, but it's not yet known where the other children may be.
The women's captivity ended after 26-year-old kidnap victim Amanda Berry climbed through a screen door her alleged captor was out and fled to a neighbor's home to call 911.
Police later found 23-year-old Gina DeJesus and 32-year-old Michele Knight who had also been missing for a decade, along with the young girl. Authorities later confirmed that the little girl was born to Berry while she was in captivity, but it is not known which of the three suspects may be the father.
Berry, who went missing a day before her 17th birthday in 2003, was applauded for escaping and alerting authorities to the two other women at the home. "The real hero here is Amanda," Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said at a press conference. "She came out of that house and that started it all."
Child Protective Services had been sent to the home in 2004, but left without speaking to the homeowner after there was no answer.
The women and young girl are reportedly suffering from severe dehydration and are slightly malnourished. Dr. Gerald Maloney, an emergency department physician, said they were in "fair condition."
"The nightmare is over," Cleveland FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony said at the press conference. "These three young ladies have provided us with the ultimate definition of survival and perseverance. The healing can now begin.'"
The disappearances of Amanda and Gina never dropped from the public's consciousness as their relatives have continually held vigils and kept the story alive in the press.
All three women were kidnapped on the same street and found at the home just three miles away as their alleged kidnappers hid in plain sight. Neighbors said they often saw Castro walking with the six-year-old girl.
Cleveland police believe the women were tied up in the home after they were snatched and local reports noted there were chains hanging from the ceiling.
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