Written by Matthew Harper. DM by Bobby Williams.
In one of the craziest stories of 2013 so far, three women who had been missing for a decade and were presumed dead were found in an Ohio home. They had been held captive and raped by 52-year-old Ariel Castro, who has now been charged not only with the kidnappings but also murder, as he reportedly forced a miscarriage for at least one of the women after impregnating her.
A story that immediately looked like a happy triumph for Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32, slowly started to reveal its dark horrors as more information came out about just what the kidnapped women had gone through. Gina was only 14 when she went missing, adding an even scarier twist into the allegations of sexual abuse against Ariel Castro. Knight was missing for 11 years, having gone missing before her fellow captives. Many in the public might remember the highly-publicized disappearance of Amanda Berry in 2003, as it made national news coverage, with most people assuming she would never be found. Gina and Amanda have both returned home to greet their families and try to put their lives back in order. Michelle Knight is still in the hospital, but she’s listed in good condition. At one point it was believed that Ariel Castro’s two brothers were linked to the crimes as well, but police later said that they don’t believe they were connected to the heinous acts of their brother (BBC News).
Cleveland City Councilman Brian Cummins told media that the women could recall having been outside of Castro’s house during their prolonged captivity and that the farthest away from it they had been was the garage, and even then they were disguised in wigs and hats. Cleveland police said that the women were bound by chains and ropes by Castro, and it’s scary to think that they might have remained his prisoners for a long time to come had Amanda Berry not been able to escape the house Monday morning and alert the first people she came across to the situation.
Thankfully, the story seems to have had as happy an ending as possible. Though the women faced horrible circumstances and abuse at the hands of Castro, they escaped with their lives and have been reunited with loved ones. Sadly, in the case of Amanda Berry, she won’t get to see her mother now that she has been freed. Louwana Berry died in 2006, three years after Amanda’s initial disappearance, having never given up the search for her daughter. The rest of Amanda’s family can rejoice that their loved one has finally returned home, though, and it’s not hard to believe that Louwana is looking on happily from somewhere. It’s also important to note that Amanda Berry, upon escaping from Castro’s house, had a 6-year-old daughter with her. Paternity tests will take place soon to confirm that Castro is the father; if he is not, obviously police will have one more person to arrest in the ongoing investigation into the bizarre kidnapping case.
As for Ariel Castro, there’s a possibility he will face the death penalty for his actions. Fox News cites Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty as having said on Thursday that his office will seek charges for the kidnappings, the sexual assaults, and “each act of aggravated murder he committed by terminating pregnancies.”