Yesterday, we showed you two amazing interviews with Charles Ramsey, the man credited with helping to save three women (who had disappeared a decade earlier) from his neighbor’s home. The unguarded and inadvertently hilarious interviews with Ramsey — who absolutely exemplifies why if you see something, you should say something — has somewhat distracted from the very serious news story, that these three women had been held captive for a decade, and that their discovery, release and relative good health considering the circumstances is nothing short of a miracle. Now, more details are emerging about the horrifying conditions these three women – Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight — withstood while allegedly imprisoned by three brothers, Ariel Castro, Pedro Castro, and Onil Castro. The Castro brothers are expected to be formally charged today.
In an interview with USA Today, Khalid Samad, a former assistant safety director for the city who now works for a crime prevention non-profit, said that law enforcement officials told him that they found chains in the house, which they believe the women were attached to for long periods of time, and that the women were beaten while pregnant, all but one of the unborn children not surviving. Amanda Berry was rescued along with her daughter Jocelyn, 6, whose biological father is allegedly one of the Castro brothers.
These conditions are especially upsetting as neighbors come forward and allege that they actually called police a number of times over the years after seeing “suspicious” activity at the Castro house. According to neighbors, several years ago, a naked woman was seen crawling on her hands and knees in the back yard. “But [police] didn’t take it seriously,” neighbor Elsie Cintron told USA Today. In 2011, pounding was heard on the doors. When the police showed up, said neighbor Israel Lugo, “they walked to the side of the house and then left.” However, Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson contradicts what neighbors are telling reporters and said that law enforcement officials “have no indication that any of the neighbors, bystanders, witnesses or anyone else has ever called regarding any information regarding activity that occurred at that house.”
But police had visited the Castro house before. City officials said children and family services investigators had gone to the home in January 2004 — after Knight and Berry had disappeared, but three months before DeJesus went missing — because Ariel Castro had left a child on a school bus. “They knocked on the door but were unsuccessful in connection with making any contact with anyone inside that home,” Jackson said. There’s no further information about what other steps, if any, were taken by police to speak with Ariel Castro.
According to the Washington Post, officials are, for now, declining to reveal details about what went on in the Castro house during the 10 years the women were missing, and say they are proceeding cautiously in their interviews with Berry, DeJesus and Knight, using a specially trained FBI team “so as to spare them the trauma of reliving their captivity.”