Cleveland (Ohio) – Three Ohio women believed to have been abducted separately about a decade ago were found alive together on Monday at a Cleveland house near where they were last seen in Public, police said.
The police also said that three brothers not related to the girls have been arrested as suspects over their disappearance, .
Police said they were alerted to the whereabouts of the women by a frantic emergency call from one of them, Amanda Berry, moments after she was freed from the house by a neighbour who said he heard screaming and came to her assistance.
“Help 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.
During the call, she gave the name of her alleged abductor, said he was “out of the house’’ and urged police to come quickly. She indicated that she knew her disappearance had been widely reported in the media.
The neighbour, Charles Ramsey, said in an interview broadcast by CNN that when he arrived, Berry appeared desperate to get through the door, which did not open properly.
“I see this girl going nuts trying to get outside,’’ he said, adding that he was astonished when she identified herself.
“Then I realised I’m calling 911 for Amanda Berry. I thought that girl was dead,’’ he said. He said Berry had emerged
from the house with a little girl.
Berry had last been seen leaving her job at a fast-food restaurant the day before her 17th birthday in April 2003.
The two women found with her were identified by authorities as Gina DeJesus, 23, who vanished in 2004 aged 14 while walking home from school, and Michelle Knight, who was reported to have been between 18 and 20 when she went missing in 2002.
All were from the west-side section of Cleveland where they ultimately resurfaced.
The disappearance of Knight did not attract local media attention as those of Berry and DeJesus.
Her grandmother, Deborah Knight, told the Plain Dealer that some family members had concluded, based in part on suggestions by police and social workers at the time, that she had run away.
Barbara Knight,her mother, who now lives in Florida, told the newspaper she never believed her daughter would have vanished without a trace on her own and that she kept searching long after police gave up looking for her.
“I’m praying that if it is her, she will come back with me, so I can help her recover from what she has been through,’’ the mother was quoted as saying.
“So much has happened in these 10 years. She has a younger sister she still has not met.’’
The discovery of the three women was reminiscent of the case of Jaycee Dugard, who was snatched from her northern California home at age 11 by a convicted sex offender, Phillip Garrido, and kept in captivity for 18 years before being rescued in 2009. (Reuters/NAN)