Cleveland, OH – Police Chief Michael McGrath recently confirmed the three victims of the Cleveland, Ohio kidnapping – Amanda Berry, 27, Michelle Knight, 32, and Gina DeJesus, 23 – spent much of their decade long captivity on the second floor of the house they were discovered in, and that ropes, chains and padlocks were found on the premises, according to CBS News.
In addition to the physical restraints, the Ohio suspect, 52-year-old Ariel Castro – who according to neighbors, became increasingly reclusive – allegedly played psychological games in order to keep his captives in line.
Based on details shared in a CNN transcript, Dan Deroos, a WOIO 19 Action News reporter, claimed one of the ways the young women were kept in line were with threats made regarding their well-being and that of their of loved ones, including a 6-year-old child found on the premises in Amanda’s company, believed to be her daughter.
Ultimately, the victimology of the situation forced the women to endure what was necessary in order to survive.
The women were bound and gagged several times throughout their captivity, but Ariel also conditioned them to fear trying to escape, playing mind games. He would leave the home and wait. If and when one of them would try to open the door Ariel would brutally attack them.
It was mentioned amidst the transcribed conversation between Anderson Cooper and Deroos that during the 10 year ordeal the women had become pregnant on several occasions – but were beaten and forcibly struck in the stomach to induce miscarriages. Only “sources” were mentioned, but no one has officially confirmed the aforementioned information.
Ariel, the homeowner was arrested along with his two brothers, 54-year-old Pedro Castro and 50-year-old Onil Castro, earlier this week after Amanda summed up enough courage to make her presence known to a neighbor, Charles Ramsey. Ramsey aided her in escaping from the house, thinking at first it had been a domestic violence situation, and unaware of the actual criminal magnitude.
Once freed, Amanda called police. The plea for help has since been heavily scrutinized given the lackluster reaction of the dispatch agent when Amanda – audibly distraught and terrified with the knowledge others were still inside the home and her captor was due to return at any moment – was given little comfort by the 911 operator.
The victims were taken to a local hospital, and although dehydrated and malnourished, were given the all-clear. However, it will be a while before the psychological trauma, the overwhelming abuse inflicted upon each of them is resolved.
Details in the case continue to emerge as the investigation is ongoing. It has recently been mentioned a fourth woman may have also been held against her will in the same home. An initial sweep of the residence has not produced human remains. Still, police are thoroughly searching the area for any possible evidence of other captives or other children. The extent of the involvement of the other two Castro brothers has not been disclosed.
Officers had been sent to the residence on two unrelated incidents prior to the discovery of the women, but were never permitted into the home. When relatives, unaware to the horror unfolding inside did visit, they were allowed limited access. Anthony Castro, Ariel’s son, explained in reports how he rarely visited the home as it was “always locked, and there were places we could never go. There were locks on the basement. Locks on the attic. Locks on the garage.”
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