On Monday, May 6, 2013, an amazing turn of events brought an end to the search for at least three missing women. Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight were all three discovered in a home in Cleveland, Ohio — and Amanda even gave birth to at least one child four years into her decade-long ordeal. The Salt Lake Tribune shared many of the details behind today’s shocking developments, but ultimately it was NBC WKYC 3 that revealed that Amanda is indeed the mother of the young children found in the home with the three missing women. A disturbing element that is being speculated in this case is far more sinister than a mere kidnapping. It’s possible these women were purchased in a human trafficking situation.
This is indeed a startling update in at least three missing persons stories that led many to believe the women were deceased. There were even false alarms regarding the search for Amanda Berry’s body, but it’s so fortunate for her loved ones that she was never dead. She was always right there in Cleveland, supposedly being held captive by an older Hispanic man, who also kept Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight as company.
Several media reports state that the missing women and the child (as pictured) were healthy and well fed, which seems to contradict the idea that they were being held against their will. Were they truly being held captive or were they given the ability to roam freely as “prisoners” of this older man who took them in? In what context were they held prisoner? This is truly a bizarre story that demands more attention to details. Hopefully after Amanda Berry recovers from this ordeal and gets time with her family she will release the details.
What happened to Gina, Amanda and Michele — the Cleveland Three — is extremely rare. Elizabeth Smart is another victim of similar circumstances and she is known for spreading the belief that there is always hope in stories like hers. There are other famous cases that are similar to this one such as the Jaycee Dugard case and a few international ones.
This Cleveland news source has released the 9-1-1 call placed by Berry to the public, and it depicts a frantic young woman who was definitely afraid for her life. While the 911 operator asks her questions she loses her cool several times. She says:
“I’m here. I’m free now.”
The recording is very intense and actually hard to listen to, but it proves that Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus (who can be heard in the background) were terrified. They were ready to get home to their families. In the 911 call Amanda reveals the name of the man who reportedly held her and the other two women captive all these years. His name is Ariel Castro, and he owns the home where the girls and children were located. This News 5 ABC source indicates that Castro may have purchased the women through human trafficking. This is a horrifying development that could actually give both hope and fear for families of missing people all over the globe.
Keep in mind that this is a developing case, so as the updates come in details may change or evolve. What matters is that these long-missing women are being reunited with their loved ones, and Ariel Castro has been taken into custody where this can all get sorted out thoroughly.