Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland by Amanda BerryTwo women kidnapped by infamous Cleveland school-bus driver Ariel Castro share the stories of their abductions, captivity, and dramatic escape
On May 6, 2013, Amanda Berry made headlines around the world when she fled a Cleveland home and called 911, saying: “Help me, I’m Amanda Berry. . . . I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for ten years.”
A horrifying story rapidly unfolded. Ariel Castro, a local school bus driver, had separately lured Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight to his home, where he kept them chained. In the decade that followed, the three were raped, psychologically abused, and threatened with death. Berry had a daughter—Jocelyn—by their captor.
Drawing upon their recollections and the diary kept by Amanda Berry, Berry and Gina DeJesus describe a tale of unimaginable torment, and Pulitzer Prize–winning Washington Post reporters Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan interweave the events within Castro’s house with original reporting on efforts to find the missing girls. The full story behind the headlines—including details never previously released on Castro’s life and motivations—Hope is a harrowing yet inspiring chronicle of two women whose courage, ingenuity, and resourcefulness ultimately delivered them back to their lives and families.
20/20 Captive A Journey of Hope Amanda Berry Gina Dejesus- 2015
How Cleveland Kidnapping Survivors Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus Finally Made Their Escape
For 10 years, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus lived a life that few can imagine — they were chained, raped, physically and emotionally abused at the hands of their captor Ariel Castro. Nearly two years ago, Castro forgot to lock them inside their rooms. While he was away, Berry grabbed their 6-year-old daughter Jocelyn, kicked through the front door and called Berry, DeJesus and Michelle Knight , who was also held captive, were finally free. Still, when Castro went to work or spent the evening with friends, the women tried to do normal activities.
They were imprisoned until May 6, , when Berry escaped with her six-year-old daughter, to whom she had given birth while imprisoned, and contacted the police. On May 8, , Castro was charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. He was sentenced to life plus 1, years in prison without the possibility of parole. They settled in Reading, Pennsylvania , and then moved to Cleveland, Ohio , where Castro's father and other family members were living. Castro met his girlfriend Grimilda Figueroa when his family moved into a house across the street from hers in the s.
Gina DeJesus launched a non-profit to help victims of kidnapped people — and the offices are on the same street where she was held captive. When Gina DeJesus disappeared while on her way home from school in , her family was at a loss. The simplest day-to-day tasks became overwhelming for them as they remained focused on finding their loved one. It has been more than five years since Gina DeJesus, along with Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight , were rescued from a Cleveland home where Ariel Castro held her captive for nearly a decade. Since then, Gina and her family have been thinking about how to help the families who are left waiting after loved ones have been abducted.
I've been kidnapped and I've been missing for ten years and I'm here, I'm free now. The girls endured physical, mental and sexual abuse at the hands of their captor, Ariel Castro. - Born on April 22, , and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Amanda Berry vanished one night right before turning She would reappear ten years later in May, , screaming for help from a house with her six-year-old daughter and making her way to freedom with the help of neighbors.
Gina DeJesus , 14, had the buoyancy and affection of a well-loved child who knew that home and family were worth fighting for. For that birth Castro designated his oldest captive, Michelle Knight, as midwife — and threatened to kill her if the baby died. For now, the three women are talking to no one but family members about what went on behind the sealed doors and windows at Seymour Ave. They occupied the upper floor; Amanda and her child Jocelyn were kept separately. But I do know the other two girls had the stronger bond than Amanda. The other two leaned on each other, and Amanda had the daughter to lean on. All three would look out for each other.
That fear kept them from ever attempting to escape. Berry, 29, and DeJesus, 25, were abducted in and , respectively, as teens. For years, the women endured unimaginable abuse as they were chained, starved and tortured by Castro, but they still maintained their strength and kept their hope alive. Then, on May 6, , they finally found the courage and opportunity to make their escape in the most unexpected way: Jocelyn. For the first time in 10 years, Berry said, she found her bedroom door unlocked without Castro around. Downstairs, the front door was open but wired with an alarm. Beyond it, the storm door was padlocked shut, but Berry was still able to squeeze out an arm.
Five years after she and two other women escaped from the house of horrors in Cleveland where they had been held captive, nothing makes Michelle Knight happier than feeling the sun on her face. There were long stretches during the 11 years she was imprisoned by Ariel Castro in which Knight was chained to a pole in his basement and left alone in the darkness. He raped her repeatedly, police said, impregnating her five times and beating her so badly she miscarried each time. Now 37, Knight says she no longer has nightmares about Castro, who hanged himself in prison not long after his arrest. But she still lives at the edge of despair. Light fixtures with chain pulls.