CLEVELAND -- Three women who went missing separately about a decade ago, when they were in their teens or early 20s, were found alive Monday in a residential area just south of downtown, and likely had been tied up during years of captivity, said police, who arrested three brothers.
One of the women told a 911 dispatcher the person who had taken her was gone, and she pleaded for police officers to come and get her before his return, saying, "I'm free now."
Cheering crowds gathered Monday night on the street near the home where police believed Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight had been held since they went missing.
The women appeared to be in good health and were taken to a hospital to be evaluated. Police said a 6-year-old also was found in the home, but the child's identity or relationship to anyone in the home wasn't revealed.
A neighbor, Charles Ramsey, told WEWS-TV he heard screaming yesterday and saw Berry, whom he didn't recognize, at a door that would open only enough to fit a hand through. He said she was trying desperately to get outside and pleaded for help to reach police.
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On a recorded 911 call Monday, Berry declared, "I'm Amanda Berry. . . . I've been kidnapped, and I've been missing for 10 years. And I'm here. I'm free now."
She disappeared at age 16 on April 21, 2003, when she called her sister to say she was getting a ride home from her job at a Burger King.
DeJesus went missing at age 14 on her way home from school about a year later.
They were found just a few miles from where they had gone missing.
Police said Knight, now 32, went missing around 2002. They didn't provide current ages for Berry or DeJesus.
Police said one of the brothers under arrest, a 52-year-old, lived at the home, and the others, ages 50 and 54, lived elsewhere. Authorities released no names and gave no details about them or the charges.
But Julio Castro, who runs a grocery store a half-block from where the women were found, said the homeowner arrested is his own nephew, Ariel Castro.
Berry also identified Ariel Castro by name in her 911 call.
Loved ones said they hadn't given up hope of seeing the women again.
Berry's cousin Tasheena Mitchell told The Plain Dealer newspaper she couldn't wait to see Berry. "I'm going to hold her, and I'm going to squeeze her and I probably won't let her go," she said.
Berry's mother, Louwana Miller, died in March 2006 after Berry's disappearance took a toll on her health, family and friends said.
Mayor Frank Jackson said, "We have many unanswered questions . . . and the investigation will be ongoing."