Web Staff - firstname.lastname@example.org Jen Picciano - email
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -
After thousands of days in captivity, countless assaults, and more than 90 pounds worth of chains used to restrain them, it's still hard to believe Amanda Berry and her daughter got out alive.
Upon leaving her job at Burger King when she was only 16-years-old, Amanda Berry told detectives she encountered Ariel Castro and a female in his van she thought she knew. So that's why she accepted a ride and went to Ariel Castro's home, thinking she'd be meeting up with his daughter, Angie.
But the detective who interviewed Berry shortly after her rescue said she quickly knew his house wasn't safe.
"She attempted to run out of the room but it was dark and she became disoriented and ran into a closet. It was at this time that Ariel Castro first sexually assaulted her," said Detective Andrew Harasimchuk.
"He then used duct tape to tie her wrists, her legs, put duct tape on her mouth and a motorcycle helmet on her head. He then carried her down to the basement where he restrained her with a chain where he left her alone overnight in a dark basement," Harasimchuk went on to say.
And that was just day one of ten years of captivity. Berry's sister, Beth Serrano, spoke on her behalf in court today, asking once again for privacy, and to let the victim put this behind her.
"It is impossible to put into words how much it hurts...she is strong, beautiful inside and out and is doing better every day," Serrano said.
"The main reason she does not want anyone to talk about these things or be forced to talk about these things is because she has a young daughter. She would love to be the person to decide when to tell her daughter how to tell her daughter certain things," Serrano added.
For years, Berry was forced to live in terrible conditions, and suffer sexual, physical and emotional abuse by Castro, during which time she was trying to raise a child he fathered.
"I do remember at one point looking at Amanda and asking her 'how about when you had your daughter, didn't you go to the hospital?' She said 'Oh no, I had my daughter here at the house. Michelle delivered her for me'," said Officer Barb Johnson, one of the first responders.
Berry told detectives about the day she finally drummed up the courage to break through the front door and call for help.
"A man and a woman from across the street came to Ariel Castro's yard and while there in the yard, a man from next door also came over and was on the porch and began telling Amanda to kick out the bottom panel of the door," said Harasimchuk.
The first responders said even when they were finally free, the pale, thin victims were still fragile and scared.
"...still kind of reluctant…not very sure what was happening…they didn't know what we were going to do with them," said Johnson.
One of the clues Amanda had that something wasn't right in that house: she noticed Michelle through a hole in a door of a bedroom. That was their only ventilation.
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