A police report brought to light more disturbing details of the kidnapping of three Ohio women imprisoned in a squalid house for about decade.
Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight vanished from the area within two years of each other, and were recovered Monday from a home on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland after neighbors heard Berry screaming for help. Ariel Castro, 52, is accused of having abducted, imprisoned and abused the young women, all of whom gave statements for the police report, which was obtained recently by several news outlets, including the the Cleveland Plain Dealer, NBC local affiliate WKYC and The New York Times.
Among the information in the report is an account from Michelle Knight, abducted in 2002, about how she was impregnated by Castro at least five times. Knight told police Castro caused her to miscarry by starving and beating her.
Amanda Berry, abducted in April of 2003, also became pregnant while being held in the house. Knight told police that she served as Berry's midwife, and that Castro threatened to kill her if the baby did not survive.
Castro allegedly ensnared his victims by luring them into his car. Berry told police that she was walking home from work at Burger King when Castro pulled over to offer her a ride home, claiming that his son also worked at the restaurant.
Gina DeJesus, who vanished in 2004 while she was walking home from school, told police that Castro initially approached her in his car with his daughter, whom DeJesus reportedly knew well. DeJesus said Castro later returned in his car alone and said he would drive her to his house so the girls could hang out.
At the time they were rescued, the women were living in separate rooms on the second floor of the house. Earlier in their captivity they had been chained in the basement of the house.
Berry's opportunity for freedom came when Castro went out for McDonald's on Monday but forgot to lock the "big inside door." An outer storm door, however, was still locked. Berry told police she was scared to try and open it because she feared Castro was testing her.
A law enforcement official explained to CNN that Castro allegedly tested the women frequently as a way to gain their obedience. The women told police that he would pretend to leave the house but would return quickly to see whether they'd moved. If they had, he would punish them.
Once Berry was free, police reportedly went inside and made their way to the second floor. The Plain Dealer notes that police found Knight in a bedroom on the second floor. She ran into an officer's arms, reportedly saying to him, "You saved me."
WKYC reports that the women recalled being allowed outside only twice in the decade they were held. Both times they moved through the backyard to the garage. Even then, they told police, they were forced to wear sunglasses and wigs.
A cousin of Gina DeJesus told the New York Times that Castro allegedly served the women cake to mark the anniversary of each of their abductions.
Castro has been charged with four counts of kidnapping -- the additional count is for the child he is thought to have fathered with Berry -- and three counts of rape.
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