Three Cleveland Women Released from Hospital

9:42 AM, May 7, 2013   |    comments
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By Yamiche Alcindor and Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY

CLEVELAND -- Three young women who were held captive in a residential home for as long as a decade are in 'fairly good" physical condition and have been returned to their families, but police -- who have arrested three middle-aged brothers in the case -- said Tuesday they will move slowly before pressing the women for details on their ordeal.

"Right now, we want to let them spend some time with their families and take this process very, very slowly and respectful for their families and the young girls' needs," deputy police chief Ed Tomba said at a news conference on Tuesday.

The three suspects were identified as brothers, Ariel Castro, 52, the owner of the house and a former Cleveland school bus driver, Pedro Castro, 54, and O'Neal Castro, 50.

The missing women -- Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight -- were freed after Berry's screams late Monday afternoon alerted a neighbor, who helped her slip through a small opening in the door.

Also freed was a 6-year-old girl who police believe is Berry's daughter.

"Amanda is the real hero," said Tomba at a morning news conference."This is the one that got this rolling."

Records show that Ariel Castro was arrested for domestic violence in 1993, but that a grand jury declined to indict him, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

The three women and the 6-year-old girl were rescued by a neighbor, Charles Ramsey, who heard Berry yelling for help.

"I heard screaming," he told WEWS-TV. "I'm eating my McDonald's. I come outside. I see this girl going nuts trying to get out of a house."

Ramsey said the door was only wide enough for a hand to fit through, so they kicked out the bottom and made enough space for her to escape.

Berry, who crawled out along with the 6-year-old girl, said there were other women help captive inside and insisted on calling 911. Police quickly swarmed the house and found the other young women, apparently tied up inside.

Police rushed to the scene within two minutes after Berry called 911 from the neighbor's home. After entering the house, the two other women were also freed.

The women were hospitalized in fair condition, but released to their families on Tuesday morning.

Police chief Michael McGrath said the women's emotional well-being was the top priority. "After we get that stabilized, we will move forward with the debriefing process," he said.

Charles Ramsey, who was summoned to the house by Berry's screaming, heard Berry yelling for help, said he had had barbecue with Castro in the backyard and never saw anything amiss.

"There was nothing exciting about him - well, until today," he told WEWS-TV.


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