Amanda Berry, fellow Cleveland captives turn to recovery after being kidnapped

FBI sees case as ‘ultimate definition of survival’

continued from page 1

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“Those women are so strong. All have a positive attitude,” Sandra Ruiz, aunt of Ms. DeJesus, told reporters Tuesday. “What we’ve done in 10 years is nothing compared to what those women have done in 10 years to survive.”

However, two neighbors in the mostly Puerto Rican neighborhood where the women were held said they had alerted police to suspicions regarding the Castro home.

Elsie Citron, whose daughter saw the naked woman some years ago, told reporters that she called law enforcement, “but they didn’t take it seriously.”

Israel Lugo said that when he called about hearing noises from inside the home 18 months ago, police merely knocked on the door, and when they didn’t get an answer they “walked to side of the house and then left.”

According to The Associated Press, police went to the home at least one other time since the women were kidnapped, but on an unrelated matter that led to no arrests or official action.

Cleveland police have been accused of incompetence and not noticing crimes in poor and minority neighborhoods. In 2009, Anthony Sowell was arrested after 11 women’s bodies were found buried in his home and yard in another run-down neighborhood. Many of Sowell’s victims — he is now on Ohio’s death row — were addicts whose disappearances were barely investigated.

In the latest case, Ms. Knight vanished in August 2002 when she was 19 and was reported missing by her family. Her mother, Barbara Knight, moved to Florida but often returned to West Cleveland to search for her daughter.

Ms. Berry was last seen April 2003 leaving her job at Burger King in a car with an unidentified driver. She was 16.

Ms. DeJesus vanished while walking home from school when she was 14.

Ms. Berry’s mother, Louwana Miller, died in March 2006 after being hospitalized for months with pancreatitis and other ailments. Her relentless search for her daughter took a toll on her health, family and friends said.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein

Cheryl Wetzstein

Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.

Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...

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