(Cleveland) - “We are happy they have returned to us.”
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson opened a news conference Tuesday discussing the recovery of kidnap victims Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.
But Jackson says there are many questions as to how these women could have been held captive in a Cleveland house for a decade or longer.
Jackson says police responded to the house on Seymour Ave. two times. One was in 2000 when suspect Ariel Castro reported a fight in the street. The other time was in 2004 when Castro accidently left a child on a bus. No one answered the door.
Click here for more photos (Photo by Colleen O'Neill/WTAM 1100)
A frantic 911 call from Amanda Berry led police to the house near downtown where the three women were found Monday.
Officials say three brothers, ages 50 to 54, are in custody. They are identified as Ariel, Pedro and Onil Castro. These individuals are currently being held in the City of Cleveland Central Prision Unit awaiting charges.
Police say Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were tied up at the house and held there since they were in their teens or early 20s. Knight disappeared in 2002, Berry in 2003 and DeJesus about a year after that.
Deputy Chief Ed Tomba confirmed that a six-year-old girl recovered from the house is Berry’s daughter with her captor.
There are numerous reports that all three women were raped and there were other pregancies. We don't know what may have happened to the babies.
Chief Michael McGrath rejoyced in reporting that finding these women truly gives police officers "a boost". This is a moment that many officers and agents have waited many years for.
Three men are currently under arrest in regards to this investigation. The men, who are brothers, are Ariel Castro, Pedro Castro and Onil Castro.
During the press conference, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland Office, Steven Anthony, remarked, “Prayers have finally been answered, the nightmare is finally over”. He further stated that the families of these ladies never gave up and neither did law enforcement.
Deputy Chief Edward Tomba commanded the attention of those in the room when he stated “The real hero here is Amanda. Without her lead, we would not be here.”
The next steps will include sorting through ten years of logistical information, interviews being conducted and evidence examined. The Federal Bureau of Investigation remains in partnership with the Cleveland Division of Police and has provided the assistance of the Evidence Response Team which will examine all evidence at the crime scene.
Chief Michael McGrath says they never stopped looking for these missing women. They continued to investigate any and all leads in these cases.
McGrath also says the emotional states of the women are the most important thing right now and he asked reporters to be respectful of that. He says no of this would have happened without the heroic efforts of Amanda Berry.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony says they are still asking that anyone with information about Ariel Castro get in touch with them.
Tomba says they expect charges to be filed in the next 36 hours. He also says there is no evidence at this time that there could be any other victims.
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