Three young American women who went missing more than a decade ago have been found. According to a BBC report Amanda Berry, 16, disappeared in 2003 and a year later Gina DeJesus, 14, went missing. The two women, plus Michele Knight, 32, who vanished in 2002 at the age of 20, were found at the home of a 52-year-old suspect, in Cleveland, Ohio.
Amanda called her sister in 2003 to say she would get a lift home from her work at a Burger King restaurant. That was the last time her family heard from her. Ms DeJesus was on her way home from school in 2004 when she went missing.
The story is unfolding but already the suspect is thought to be Ariel Castro. Reports claim that Amanda Berry managed to escape whilst the suspect was not home and made a frantic call to police ending the victims long incarceration.
"I heard screaming… And I see this girl going nuts trying to get outside," the neighbour, identified only as Charles, told NewsNet5."I go on the porch and she said, 'Help me get out. I've been here a long time.' I figure it was domestic violence dispute."
Although all three women are reported as in good health at least one is known to have a baby. Another eye-witness reported a woman holding a baby running out of the property screaming for help.
WDBJ7 reports the call Amanda made to police. [ "H]elp me! I'm Amanda Berry. ... I've been kidnapped and I've been missing for 10 years and I'm here. I'm free now," Berry, now 26, is heard frantically telling a 911 operator in a recording of the call released by police and posted on the website of the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper.]
In 2012 the girls cases were re-opened after a prison inmate tipped off authorities that Ms Berry was dead and may have been buried in Cleveland. A plea bargain was agreed, on what is now known to have been false information.
Police will hold a press conference Tuesday. Three brothers have been arrested in connection with the discovery of the women. One is the 52-year-old who lives at the property where the women were found. The other two men, aged 50 and 54, lived elsewhere. A six-year-old child was also found at the property.
Now that the women have been found relatively safe the questions begin. How could the man keep the women a secret for such a long time? Surely if there is at least one baby authorities had to have some involvement somewhere along the line? What about the neighbors. How can you keep three women a secret for such a long time?
The suffering the girls and their families endured is unimaginable. They now have each other once more and can begin the long road to recovery.
This case however, in light of others which have involved long incarcerations, leaves you wondering how many other "missing" girls are being held prisoners in the heart of communities. It brings to mind the high-profile case of Jaycee Lee Dugard who was missing from 1991 until 2009.