Police: Ohio women held with ropes, chains in home
CLEVELAND (NBC) -- The three women held in a Cleveland house for a decade were bound with chains and ropes, and allowed only “once in a while” into the backyard, the police chief told NBC News on Wednesday.
Chief Michael McGrath, speaking to NBC’s TODAY, said the account was based on initial interviews with the women, who were freed Monday night after one of them broke through a door and was rescued by a neighbor.
“We have confirmation that they were bound, and there was chains and ropes in the home,” he said.
He said that the women’s physical well-being was “very good, considering the circumstances.” They were released “out in the backyard once in a while, I believe,” he said.
McGrath said that he expected charges to be filed Wednesday in the case. Three brothers — Ariel, Pedro and Onil Castro — were arrested. The men are talking with police, McGrath said, but he declined to give details.
The women — Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight — were reported missing in Cleveland between 2002 and 2004. Berry made a break for freedom Monday night, kicking the door and screaming, and a neighbor, Charles Ramsey, helped free her.
Berry called 911 and pleaded with the dispatcher to send help: “I’m Amanda Berry. I’ve been on the news for the last 10 years.”
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McGrath said that the house had come to the attention of police only twice — once in 2000, when Ariel Castro called about a fight on the street, and once in 2004, when Castro, a school bus driver, had left behind one of his passengers.
The chief’s account conflicts with that of at least one neighbor, Israel Lugo, who told MSNBC on Tuesday that he called the police in 2011 after his sister spotted a woman with a baby in the home, banging on the window “like she wants to get out.”
McGrath said that his department would have a record of such a call and that there was none. He said that he was “absolutely confident” that his officers did not miss a chance to free the three women.