If Charles Ramsey hadn’t responded to the screams he heard from his neighbor’s home, the story of the three Cleveland women who were imprisoned there may not have ended so happily.
As it were, the trio – Georgina “Gina” DeJesus, now 23, Michelle Knight, now 30, and Amanda Berry, now 27 – was able to escape their near-decade makeshift jail on Seymour Avenue and telephone police to be rescued.
But the wheel that started that motion was Charles Ramsey.
On Monday, he was home from work, relaxing, eating McDonald’s, he told Fox News. He heard screams and went to the home to investigate.
He knew something was wrong when he heard a girl’s voice, “because I knew no girl lived there. So I knew something was wrong right there,” he said to Fox News.
“This girl is kicking the door and screaming,” he said, in an NBC report. “So I go over there … and I say, ‘Can I help? What’s going on?’ And she says, ‘I’ve been kidnapped and I’ve been in this house a long time. I want to leave right now.’”
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Mr. Ramsey, who lived across the street from the house and had never noticed anything suspicious, kicked in the door to help the girl, he said, on Fox News.
He didn’t believe at first she was who she claimed – the Amanda Berry who mysteriously disappeared in April of 2003 at the age of 16.
And Mr. Ramsey has garnered some Internet acclaim for his 911 call and candid description of the rescue in a video that has gone viral.
“I knew something was wrong when a little, pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms. Something is wrong here,” Mr. Ramsey said. “Dead giveaway.”
Rescued with Ms. Berry were Georgina “Gina” DeJesus, now 23, who disappeared in April 2004 at the age of 14 and Michelle Knight, now 30, who vanished in August 2002 at the age of 19. Also rescued was a 6-year-old child.
Mr. Ramsey said he and his neighbors had associated with the man who lived in the home, 52-year-old Ariel Castrol. But there was never any evidence he was engaged in criminal activity, he said.