UK & World News

  • 8 May 2013, 20:24

Ohio: Two Kidnap Victims Home After Ordeal

Two of the three women rescued from a house in Ohio after they were kidnapped around 10 years ago have been reunited with their families.

Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesuswere welcomed home with balloons and banners, while cheering crowds lined the streets to celebrate their return.

Miss Berry, who was abducted in 2003 when she was 16 years old, returned to her sister's home in Cleveland - the same city where she was held hostage.

Around three hours later,Miss DeJesus, now 23, returned to her home, also in Cleveland.She was abducted in 2004, aged 14.

Surrounded by reporters, family members read statements outside both houses.

Miss Berry's sister, Beth Serrano, thanked the media and the public for their "support and courage over the years" but asked for privacy to allow the family time to recover.

Sandra Ruiz, an aunt of Miss DeJesus, said there were "not enough words to express the joy we feel at the return of our family member, Gina".

"We'd like to thank everyone ... who has been here 24/7 whenever we needed them," she said.

"I'd also like to thank our extended family, friends and the community. Thank you for your prayers and support."

A third person - Michelle Knight, who was the first to be kidnapped in 2002, when she was 20 years old - was also released. Now aged 32, she has not yet appeared in public.

Miss Berry's mother had died during the time her daughter was being detained.

When the former captive's car with darkened windows arrived at her sister's house, Jessica Duna, a 50-year-old housekeeper who lives in neighbourhood, said: "Oh my God, it just stopped my heart.

"It's just sad that her mother isn't here right now. Its heartbreaking."

Miss Berry, now 27, earlier spoke on the telephone to her grandmother, Fern Gentry, who told her: "I'm glad to have you back."

"I'm glad to be back," Miss Berry said.

Miss Gentry added: "I thought you were gone."

"Nope, I'm here", her granddaughter continued.

TV pictures taken from the air as Miss Berry returned home showeda person carrying a small child - thought to be the six-year-old daughter she gave birth to during her time as a captive.

On Monday, Miss Berry had raised the alarm by screaming for help and a neighbour managed to get her and her child out by kicking in a door.

She then made a frantic call to the police and the other two womenwere later rescued.

The owner of the home, 52-year-old former school bus driverAriel Castro, who also lived at the property, has been detained, along with his brothers, Pedro, 54, and Onil, 50, in connection with the case.

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