In what might be one of the craziest stories of 2013, three Cleveland women have been rescued after being kidnapped by Ariel Castro, where they were beaten, sexually abused, and forced to live in fear for more than a decade.
Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus and Michelle Knight were all kidnapped on the same street, however, in 2003, 2004, and 2002, respectively. On Monday, Berry attempted to make an escape with her 6-year-old daughter through the front door of her prison. That’s when bystander-turned-hero Charles Ramsey heard her cries, called the police, and helped her through the screen door.
While Ramsey has subsequently shot to internet stardom due to his charismatic personality, punchlines and, of course, heroism, the facts trickling down from the investigation are proving to be much more gripping…and gruesome.
Here are the latest updates in the bizarre case.
1. Michelle Knight Releases A Statement
Michelle Knight, one of the missing women found alive after a decade, has released a statement through MetroHealth Medical System:
Michelle Knight is in good spirits and would like the community to know that she is extremely grateful for the outpouring of flowers and gifts. She is especially thankful for the Cleveland Courage Fund. She asks that everyone please continue to respect her privacy at this time.
2. DNA Tests Conclude Ariel Castro Fathered Amanda Berry’s Daughter
The Ohio Attorney General says DNA tests confirm Ariel Castro is father of 6-year-old Jocelyn, Amanda Berry’s daughter. More details to come.
3. Arlene Castro Thinks Her Father Should Get The Death Penalty
The trial has yet to begin and, already, talk of Ariel Castro receiving the death penalty for kidnapping, forcing miscarriages and raping his three captives is floating around. Even his own daughter, and best friend to captive Gina DeJesus, believes that is what her father deserves.
She feels that only the death penalty can make him “suffer the consequences” for allegedly keeping Gina, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight in captivity for a decade. And according to MailOnline, Arlene and Castro’s other four children have vowed never to visit him in prison because they are so disgusted by him.
4. Ariel Castro Obsessed Over A Mannequin That He Would Carry With Him All The Time
Ariel Castro’s sexual addiction took him beyond holding the three young women captive as his “sex-slaves.” He also kept a dark-skinned mannequin with a blonde wig, which he used to drive around with in the passenger seat of his car.
Castro reportedly took the mannequin with him everywhere he went to garner attention and because, simply, he liked it by his side. He also once used it to push ex-wife Grimaldi Figueroa down the stairs, which is how she cracked her skull open.
Grimilda’s sister Elida Caraballo told MailOnline: “The mannequin was something he kept in his house or the garage or the car and he would move it around. It was the top half, it wasn’t on a stand. It was a dark brown mannequin with beady eyes and sandy hair.”
Her husband Frank Caraballo added: “I remember he used to drive it around on the street. He would drive around and put it next to him just to get attention. I remember thinking, ‘man that Ariel, what is wrong with him?’ He is crazy. He used to throw it in the passenger side.”
Both told reporters that they are sure the police will find the mannequin upon searching Castro’s home.
5. Kidnapping Victims Depend On Each Other So Much, They Can’t Be Left Alone
Used to dealing with each other during their 10-year ordeal, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight can’t comprehend what it is like to be left alone.
The three women are reportedly “brainwashed” from a decade of believing that the other girls would always be around. They all have to be walked around in groups because they get agitated if they are left on their own.
MailOnline also reports that DeJesus is more “on edge” when around men – a chilling result of the abuse she endured at the hands of Ariel Castro.
6. 911 Dispatcher Being Investigated
The Cleveland 911 dispatcher who answered Amanda Berry’s panicked call is being criticized for how he handled it. Authorities in Cleveland have issued a statement in response to backlash.
While the call-taker complied with policies and procedures which enabled a very fast response by police, we have noted some concerns which will be the focus of our review, including the call-taker’s failure to remain on the line with Ms. Berry until police arrived on scene. Please be assured that this matter will be investigated, and if necessary, appropriate corrective action taken.
On the 911 call from Berry, a woman can be heard identifying herself as a kidnapping victim who had been in the news for years.
The dispatcher tells Berry that a police car will be coming as soon as one is available. She advises Berry to stay with the neighbors and repeatedly tells her to “talk to police when they get there.” Berry begs for the police to come quickly, before the man holding her returns to the house, to which the responder replies, “All right; we’re sending them, OK?” The dispatcher goes on to ask for a description of the man, but does little in the way of reassuring Berry or attempting to keep her on the line.
This story is developing.