How did kidnapping of three Cleveland women last a decade?

May 7, 2013

Missing Teens Found Alive In Cleveland Home

A police officer keeps the public away from the house where three women, who disappeared as teens about a decade ago, were found alive May 7, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. Amanda Berry, who went missing in 2003, Gina DeJesus, who went missing in 2004, and Michelle Knight, who went missing in 2002, managed to escape their captors on May 6, 2013. Three suspects, all brothers, were taken into custody. ; Credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The pain and panic in Amanda Berry’s 911 call yesterday is evidence of the severity of this case. Three woman held captive by three brothers for ten long years. In 2003, sixteen-year-old Berry disappeared walking home from her job at Burger King. In 2002, Michelle Knight ‘s family stopped hearing from the 20-year-old, but thought the reason was a custody dispute. In 2004, Gina DeJesus vanished on her way home from high school.

They were held in a home owned by Ariel Castro. Police say Castro and his brothers, Onil and Pedro — all in their 50s — conspired in the case. A six-year-old girl was also found who was reportedly born to Amanda Berry during the ordeal. The Castro house was just a few miles from where the women had all been kidnapped. While the case reminds us of other long-term kidnapping and captivity cases, such as Jaycee Dugard and Austria’s Josef Fritzl, analysts say it is very unusual to have three brothers working in concert.

How did they keep it secret from neighbors, family or coworkers for so long? Why weren’t the women able to escape sooner? What is the psychological profile of men like the Castros? How will these women recover?


Eric Hickey, Ph.D., criminologist and dean of the California School of Forensic Studies, Alliant International University, former consultant to the FBI

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