Three women kidnapped in Cleveland and imprisoned for more than nine years speak out of their gripping imprisonment, seven years after their miraculous escape.
For years, Ariel Castro kidnapped three women – Amanda Berry, 33, Gina DeJesus, 29 and Michelle Knight, 38, imprisoned in his house after being abducted between 2002 and 2004.
After years of mistreatment in which they were chained, famished, tortured and raped, they were finally able to escape on May 6, 2013 when Berry managed to leave the house and called 911 from a neighbor’s phone.
“He was always watching every move, it was like he knew everything, every move we did,” DeJesus said in a sit-down interview with ABCs 2020 it will be broadcast on Friday.
“When I told you [first responders] my name, they looked like they had seen a ghost or something. As if their faces completely fell, “DeJesus said as the police realized they finally found the three women who had been missing for years.
Amanda Berry, 33, Gina DeJesus, 29, (above) and Michelle Knight, 38, open about their nine years imprisoned by abductor Ariel Castro in a new 2020 episode
The women were abducted between 2002 and 2004 and abused for years, chained, raped and held in filthy conditions. Michelle Knight, who was abducted for the first time on August 23, 2002 when she was 21, pictured above
“I was so scared that I would die. I didn’t think I’d ever come home, “said Amanda Berry, who was abducted on April 21, 2003, just one day before her 17th birthday.
Castro first abducted Michelle Knight on August 23, 2002, when she was 21 when she left a cousin’s home.
Amanda Berry was kidnapped on April 21, 2003, just one day before her 17th birthday when she walked home from work.
Casto, who worked as a primary school bus driver, approached her in his vehicle and asked if she needed a ride home.
Berry, who knew Castro as the father of Arlene, her classmate and high school friend, agreed.
He eventually invited her to his house to hang out with his daughter. Once she was inside, she wouldn’t leave for years.
“He took me to the next bedroom, and it was just very dark there, and he didn’t turn on the light, and there was a little, like, a small room next to the larger bedroom, a sort of large closet,” Berry said. . “And he took me inside and he told me to pull my pants down. And from there I knew that this would not be good. “
Castro chained her to a pole and left her in a dark room with a television on.
On 1 August 2013, Castro was sentenced to life imprisonment and 1000 years in prison after being found guilty of 937 counts of abduction and rape. On September 3, 2013, he was found dead in his prison cell after he committed suicide. He knew Amanda and Gina because they were friends with his daughter Arlene
Survivors: Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight (from left to right) pictured in this February 2014 image after their escape
Amanda Berry reunited with her sister Beth Serrano and daughter in Cleveland, America after their escape
“I was just screaming and crying …” Please help me, “you know. And nobody, nobody came. I was so scared that I would die. I didn’t think I’d ever come home, “Berry said.
A week after Berry went missing, Castro called on her family to taunt them with her cell phone.
“He called and said,” I have Mandy, “which nobody else called her Mandy [people] who knew her, “said her sister Beth Serrano. “She wants to be with me.”
The FBI was able to limit the location of the telephone to an area of thirty to forty blocks and was unable to find Berry despite exhaustive search measures.
Castro grabbed Gina DeJesus in the same way on April 2, 2004 when she was 14 when she walked home. She was good friends with Castro’s daughter Arlene.
When she entered his house, Castro’s behavior made her nervous.
“He was fixing his eyebrows and cutting off his mustache and cutting off his nose hair,” DeJusus said.
“He likes, starts, likes, touches, and so on, and then I’m like,” What are you doing? You could go to jail. ” He just switches like, “Well, OK, we’re going to, you’re going home now.” He said, “But you can’t go through the same door that you came in.”
The women could finally escape on May 6, 2013 when the women were left alone at home and for the first time in 10 years, Berry found her bedroom door unlocked. Castro’s house in Cleveland where they were imprisoned above
FBI forensic personnel removes evidence from Castro’s house after the women escaped
House of horrors: photos from Castro’s house show the filthy conditions in which the women lived where windows were boarded up and they slept on bare, yellowed mattresses
The women were forced to live in filthy, filthy conditions in which they were chained into their rooms, their bedrooms locked, barely fed, and given buckets to use as bathrooms. “The mattress was old and filthy and it was just disgusting. And we had the bucket to use the bathroom, and it smelled terrible, “Berry said
Berry’s room she shared with her daughter, Jocelyn, pictured above
DeJesus tried to ward him off and screamed for help as he brought her to the basement and tied her up. Her cries were drowned out by radios that played in his basement and living room.
“He took my hair and stuff and put it in his mouth. … I don’t know why he did it, but it was dirty, “she said.
DeJesus said that the first time Castro raped her was on May 7, 2004, but did not want to deliberate about sexual abuse.
Berry became pregnant by Castro when she was 20 and gave birth to her daughter Jocelyn on Christmas in 2006.
“I was terrified. How? I mean, I barely eat and am chained to a wall and have a bucket for a bathroom, “Berry said.
She said that captive life changed for her with the birth of her daughter. She noticed that Castro became even friendlier and took off her chains after her daughter started noticing them. She told Jocelyn that the chains were bracelets, according to Castro’s orders.
“This is his child, you know. What do I think about that? And she looked a lot like him, and I would look at her, and I just felt that she was mine. She is mine, “Berry said.
“It was nice because I can escape from the situation. When I played with Jocelyn, Jocelyn made me forget everything. “
The women were forced to live in filthy, filthy conditions in which they were chained into their rooms, their bedrooms locked, barely fed, and given buckets to use as bathrooms.
“The mattress was old and filthy and it was just disgusting. And we had the bucket to use the bathroom, and it smelled terrible, “Berry said.
The women were fed once a day and were given lean chips or crackers or other snacks as a meal. They were also only allowed to shower once a week.
“I mean, he tried to be nice, but he said,” Well, maybe you should shower, “and I had to shower with him,” Berry recalled.
The women underwent sexual abuse and rape in their captivity for years.
Berry said she had to “stun” herself to face the gross abuse.
‘You keep your mind somewhere else so that you are not there. You know, you’re not with him in that room, “Berry said.
On September 3, 2013, he committed suicide in his prison cell. Pictured above in 2013 in his conviction
She tries to record how often he raped her in her diary every day with the help of a code.
“I would always write these numbers at the top of the pages, because I felt that one day the authorities might be able to read it. And he will be punished for what he did, “said Berry.
The women could finally escape on May 6, 2013 when the women were left alone at home and for the first time in 10 years, Berry found her bedroom door unlocked.
“Jocelyn goes downstairs and then she runs back upstairs and says,” I don’t find Dad. “Daddy is nowhere near,” Berry said.
“My heart started pounding immediately. I kind of like, “Should I risk it? If I am going to do it, I have to do it now,” she added.
Berry and her daughter paused for it and ran out the front door, although it was connected with an alarm. The storm door was locked behind it and Berry held out an arm when a neighbor said she was struggling and kicked open the door.
Once outside, Berry called on Jocelyn to crawl through the door and the two found a neighbor and used their phone to call 911.
The police swarmed into the house and the women were finally saved.
DeJesus remembered that he hesitated to leave her room in disbelief.
“I thought it might be people in costumes because I was shocked,” she said.
On 1 August 2013, Castro was sentenced to life imprisonment and 1000 years in prison after being found guilty of 937 counts of abduction and rape.
On September 3, 2013, he was found dead in his prison cell after he committed suicide.
The Cleveland Kidnappings special will be broadcast on ABC’s 2020 on Friday.