Three brothers were arrested and will be charged after three women who vanished about a decade ago were found held captive in a downtown Cleveland home, authorities said.
The suspects were identified as Ariel Castro, 52, who lived at the home, and his brothers, Pedro and O’Neal, ages 54 and 50, respectively. The brothers lived at another location, authorities said.
“As far as investigations, we believe we’ve got three suspects,” Ed Tomba, Cleveland’s deputy police chief, said. “We’re going to charge those suspects. We believe we have the people responsible.”
Castro was initially identified by one of the kidnapped women, Amanda Berry, in a 911 call made Monday evening. He was later arrested in connection to the case. Castro moved into the area in 1992. Neighbors considered him a loner who kept shades drawn over his windows and would only leave the home at night. In 1993, he was arrested for domestic violence, but a grand jury dropped the charges and he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.
The women were identified as Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight. The three were treated in the MetroHealth Emergency Department Monday night and released on Tuesday morning. Authorities would not comment further on their conditions, saying only that they looked to be healthy and in need of a good meal. The women were headed to relatives’ homes, all of whom live within two miles of the suspect’s home.
There was a 6-year-old found at the home believed to belong to Berry.
Cleveland’s police chief says he believes the three women were tied up in the house where they were found and had been there since they disappeared.
One neighbor, Charles Ramsey, told Fox 8 he heard screaming, found Berry at the door of the house and helped her call police.
Ramsey said the door would open only enough to fit a hand through. He said she was trying desperately to get outside and pleaded for help to reach police.
“I heard screaming,” he said. “I’m eating my McDonald’s. I come outside. I see this girl going nuts trying to get out of a house.”
Neighbor Anna Tejeda was sitting on her porch with friends when they heard someone across the street kicking a door and yelling.
Tejeda, 50, said one of her friends went over and told Berry how to kick the screen out of the bottom of the door, which allowed her to get out.
Speaking Spanish, which was translated by one of her friends, Tejeda said Berry was nervous and crying. She was dressed in pajamas and old sandals.
At first Tejeda said she didn’t want to believe who the young woman was. “You’re not Amanda Berry,” she insisted. “Amanda Berry is dead.”
But when Berry told her she’d been kidnapped and held captive, Tejeda said she gave her the telephone to call police, who arrived within minutes and then took the other women from the house.