Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, only allowed to date twice

Three women found alive after a decade in captivity endured lonely, dark lives inside a dingy house where they were raped and allowed out only a handful of times.

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CLEVELAND (AP) — Three women found alive after a decade in captivity lived lonely, dark lives inside a filthy house where they were raped and allowed out only a few times in disguise as they walked to a garage a few steps away, say the researchers.

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The 52-year-old former school bus driver accused of kidnapping and raping the women will make his first public court appearance Thursday after emerging as the sole suspect.

While many questions remain about how Ariel Castro kept such a tight grip on the women for so many years before one of them made a daring escape on Monday, the horrors they suffered are beginning to come to light.

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Police say the women were apparently tied up with ropes and chains at times and kept in different rooms. They suffered prolonged sexual and psychological abuse and had miscarriages, according to a city official briefed on the case.

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Castro has been charged with four counts of kidnapping, covering the captives and the daughter born to one of them, and three counts of rape, against the three women.

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The women and Castro have given lengthy statements to police that have helped build their case, Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said.

However, none of the women gave them any indication that Castro’s two older brothers, who have been in custody since Monday, were involved, Tomba said. Prosecutors did not file charges against the brothers, citing a lack of evidence.

“Ariel kept everyone at a distance,” Tomba said.

One thing that remains a mystery, he said, is how the women were kept in the house for so long.

“As to the circumstances within the house and the control that he may have had over those girls… I think it will take us a long time to realize it,” he said.

The women, who are now in their 20s and 30s, disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004. At the time, they were 14, 16 and 20 years old.

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AFP/Getty images
AFP/Getty images

At a press conference, the authorities did not discuss the circumstances of his abduction and captivity.

City Councilor Brian Cummins previously said: “We know victims have confirmed miscarriages, but we don’t know with whom, how many and under what conditions.”

“Sounds pretty scary,” he added.

They never saw a chance to escape in the last 10 years until this week when Amanda Berry broke down a door and ran for freedom, alerting police who rescued the other two women while Castro was not home.

In recently released police audiotapes, a 911 dispatcher notifies officers Monday that he just spoke with a woman who “says her name is Amanda Berry and she was kidnapped 10 years ago.”

An officer on the recorded call says: “This could be real.”

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After the police arrive at the house, the women crying can be heard in the background. An officer then tells the dispatcher, “We found them. We found them.

Tomba said of Berry, “Something must have clicked and she saw an opportunity and she took it.”

He said the women could remember being outside only twice during their entire time in captivity. “They told us that they left the house and entered the garage in disguise,” she said.

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Also at the home was Berry’s 6-year-old daughter. She was taking a paternity test on Castro to establish if she was the father of the child.

As prosecutors announced the charges against Castro, federal agents searched an empty house near where the women had been held. The officials said only that their search was an attempt to obtain evidence in the case against Castro, but declined to say what they found or what led them there.

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Castro was in custody and could not be reached for comment. A brother-in-law said the family was shocked after hearing about the women in the house.

Few people in Cleveland, other than the women’s families, thought there was any chance they were still alive.

Berry, 27, and Gina DeJesus, who is in her early 20s, were welcomed home Wednesday by jubilant crowds of loved ones and neighbors with balloons and banners. Family members pushed them inside, past hundreds of reporters and onlookers.

Neither woman spoke.

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

“This is the best Mother’s Day I could have ever had,” said Nancy Ruiz, Gina’s mother. She said that she hugged her daughter and did not want to let go.

Ruiz said he spent time with the three women after they were rescued. “There are no words to describe the beauty of just seeing them,” she said.

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DeJesus’ father raised his fist after arriving home with his daughter and urged people across the country to care for children in their neighborhoods, including other people’s children.

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“Too many children these days go missing and we always ask this question: How come I didn’t see what happened to that child? Why? Because we choose not to,” she said.

The third captive, 32-year-old Michelle Knight, was reported in good condition at Metro Health Medical Center, which had reported all three victims freed a day earlier. There was no immediate explanation from the hospital.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who may be victims of sexual assault, but the women’s names circulated widely among their families, friends and law enforcement authorities for years during their disappearance.

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Castro was accused of twice breaking the nose of the mother of his children, knocking out a tooth, dislocating each shoulder and threatening to kill her and her daughters, according to a 2005 domestic violence filing in the County of Domestic Relations Court. Cuyahoga.

Grimilda Figueroa’s request for a protection order also said that Castro frequently kidnapped her daughters and hid them from her. Figueroa died in April 2012 after a battle with cancer.

Figueroa’s father, Ismail Figueroa, said Wednesday that Castro used to lock his daughter in an apartment on the second floor of the house where they lived when they were first together.

Later, when they moved a few blocks into the house Castro bought—the house from which, years later, the women would escape—he kept a close watch on her, refusing to let people come in to visit or even pick her up. . their children from school, said Ángel Villanueva, who is married to Grimilda Figueroa’s sister.

Grimilda “was not allowed to go anywhere,” Villanueva said. No matter where she wanted to go, she “had to be with him.”

Associated Press writers Andrew Welsh-Huggins and Mike Householder and freelance reporter John Coyne in Cleveland; Mitch Stacy in Colon; Dan Sewell in Cincinnati; John Seewer in Toledo; and news researchers Rhonda Shafner and Jennifer Farrar in New York contributed to this report.

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