CLEVELAND — Two of the three women held captive for a decade at a rundown Cleveland house were welcomed home by jubilant crowds of loved ones and neighbors with balloons and banners Wednesday as police built a case against the three brothers under arrest.
The families of the two young women, Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry, took them inside, past hundreds of reporters and onlookers. Neither woman spoke, and their families pleaded for patience and time alone.
“Give us time and privacy to heal,” said Sandra Ruiz, DeJesus’ aunt. Ruiz thanked police for rescuing the three women and urged the public not to retaliate against the suspects or their families.
Charges were expected by the end of the day against the owner of the house where the women were discovered, Ariel Castro, 52, and brothers Onil, 50, and Pedro, 54. Police said they apparently bound their captives with ropes and chains.
In a development that astonished and exhilarated much of Cleveland, the three women were rescued on Monday after Amanda Berry, 27, broke through a screen door at the Castro house and told a 911 dispatcher: “Help me. I’m Amanda Berry. I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for 10 years and I’m, I’m here, I’m free now.”
DeJesus, who disappeared in 2004 and is in her early 20s, arrived home in the afternoon Wednesday to chants of “Gina! Gina!” Wearing a bright yellow hooded sweat shirt, she was led through the crowd and into the house by a woman who put her arm around the young woman’s shoulders.
Berry arrived at her sister’s home, which was similarly festooned with dozens of colorful balloons and signs, one reading “We Never Lost Hope Mandy.” Hundreds cheered wildly but weren’t able to get a glimpse of Berry as she went in through the back.
The third captive, Michelle Knight, 32, was reported in good condition at Metro Health Medical Center, which a day earlier had reported that all three victims had been released. There was no immediate explanation from the hospital.