Horrifying details emerged Tuesday of the abuse suffered by three women who were kidnapped and held captive for a decade in a Cleveland home where the victims — two of them taken when they were still teenagers — were rescued yesterday from their captors. Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC-TV reported that Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were repeatedly raped, became pregnant and lost their babies as a result of the abuse. A 6-year-old girl, believed to be Berry’s daughter, survived the gruesome ordeal and was rescued along with the women.
Police have arrested three brothers — Ariel Castro, 52, Onil Castro, 50, and Pedro Castro, 54 — were arrested in connection with the apparent sex-slavery case that made headlines nationwide. Berry was 16 when she was kidnapped in 2003; DeJesus disappeared in 2004 when she was only 14; and few suspected Knight had been kidnapped when she vanished as a 20-year-old in 2002.
They were reportedly chained in the basement of the home at 2207 Seymour Avenue on Cleveland’s West Side. All three women were rescued Monday after Berry managed to break through a door and get help from neighbors, who said they had never suspected the homeowner, Ariel Castro, of such a heinous crime.
UPDATE: In the New Media age, breaking news is usually reported first on social media:
Investigator Meyer: Police say Seymour Ave women raped, up to 5 pregnancies but then beaten so babies didn’t survive on.wkyc.com/17JQtjD
— WKYC Channel 3 News (@wkyc) May 7, 2013
According to Tom Meyer @wkyc … captors raped the women resulting in 5 pregnancies, then beat them. Babies did not survive.
— Betsy Kling – WKYC (@BetsyKling) May 7, 2013
UPDATE II: While most neighbors in the West Side community said they saw nothing suspicious at the Seymour Avenue home where the women were held captive, other neighbors told USA Today they repeatedly called police:
Elsie Cintron, who lives three houses away, said her daughter once saw a naked woman crawling on her hands and knees in the backyard several years ago and called police. “But they didn’t take it seriously,” she said.
Another neighbor, Israel Lugo, said he heard pounding on some of the doors of Castro’s house, which had plastic bags on the windows, in November 2011. Lugo said officers knocked on the front door, but no one answered. “They walked to the side of the house and then left,” he said.
Neighbors also said they would sometimes see Ariel Castro walking a little girl to a neighborhood playground. And Cintron said she once saw a little girl looking out of the house’s attic window.
Israel Lugo said he, his family and neighbors called police three times between 2011 and 2012 after seeing disturbing things at the home of Ariel Castro. Lugo lives two houses down from Castro and grew suspicious after neighbors reported seeing naked women on leashes crawling on all fours behind Castro’s house.
Lugo said about two years ago his sister told him she heard a woman pounding on a window at Castro’s home as if she needed help. When his sister looked up, she saw a woman and a baby standing in a window half covered with a wooden plank. His sister told him and Lugo called the police.
- WKYC-TV: Missing women raped, beaten while pregnant
- Twitchy: Report: Cleveland captors raped, beat pregnant women; babies did not survive
- New York Daily News: Three kidnapping victims were repeatedly raped, resulting in 5 pregnancies: sources
- USA Today: Reports of sexual abuse, beatings inside the Cleveland house
- Suspect Ariel Castro ‘Was a Nice Guy,’ Neighbor Says; Cleveland School Bus Driver and Brothers Arrested in ‘House of Horrors’ Kidnappings
- VIDEO: Hero, Charles Ramsey, Who Found Amanda Berry And Other Missing Girls Gets Autotuned
- Kidnapped Girls Rescued: Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight Found Alive in Cleveland; Suspect Ariel Castro Arrested
- McDonald’s To Reach Out To Hero Charles Ramsey