Women held captive for a decade managed to escape from a Cleveland home that had become a prison for them.
Channel 11’s Cara Sapida was in Cleveland on Tuesday, where there was a heavy police and media presence.
Police said Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were held inside the Seymour Street home since they were in their teens or early 20s.
Knight disappeared in 2002. Berry went missing in 2003, and DeJesus disappeared about a year after that.
A young child was also found in the house along with the women. Police confirm the 6-year-old is Berry’s daughter.
Three brothers have been taken into custody, including Ariel Castro, 52, who has owned the home since 1992. Police are not saying much about Castro and his brothers, Pedro and Onil.
Neighbors told Sapida they are shocked.
“I’ve never been in his (Castro’s) house. I’ve knocked on his door. We had a barbeque, and he used to hang out with us. I can’t believe all of this stuff. It’s unreal,” said neighbor Joe Torres.
Berry, now 27, disappeared before her 17th birthday. DeJesus went missing at 14 years old, and Knight was 20 when she disappeared.
On Monday night, Berry managed to yell for help from a crack in the front door and was rescued by a neighbor who heard Berry yelling.
A neighbor said a naked woman was seen crawling on her hands and knees in the backyard of the house a few years ago. Another heard pounding on the home's doors and noticed plastic bags over the windows. Both times, police showed up, the neighbors said, but never went inside.
Sherry Yaschanin told Sapida that her daughter went to school with Berry. She always hoped Berry would be found alive.
“Everybody tried to find her. The kids always believed she was somewhere, and yes, she was,” said Yaschanin.
“For Amanda, Gina and Michelle’s family, prayers have been answered. The nightmare is over,” said Steve Anthony, FBI agent.
One person who knows a lot about what these women are going through is Pittsburgh area kidnapping victim Tanya Kach.
Kach walked into a store and asked for help in 2006 after being missing for a decade.
“When I heard her 911 call, it was my voice all over again. It was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’” said Kach.
“I wasn't physically restrained for 10 years, I was mentally restrained, and I couldn't do anything. When your life is in danger, you go into survival mode,” Kach explained.
Kach went missing at 14 years old and was held prisoner for a decade by a security guard, Thomas Hose, who worked at her middle school.
“The hardest thing I still deal with today was spending four Christmas Eves in a closet. That will never leave me," said Kach.
Kach told Channel 11 she initially thought Hose wanted to save her from a broken home, but when she tried to leave, Hose threatened to kill her.
Hose is currently serving a five to 15 year sentence but has a parole hearing in July.
Kach, now 31, is engaged and looking forward to her future.
Channel 11 in Cleveland: Women held captive for decade escape
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