It is always a question as to why murderers and killers do what they do – but we also have to question those who don’t kill their victims, but keep them locked up instead…

Amanda Berry in an interview about her ordeal / Picture Credit: BBC Newsnight on YouTube

Amanda Berry in an interview about her ordeal / Picture Credit: BBC Newsnight on YouTube

Who is Amanda Berry?

Amanda Berry vanished one night in Cleveland in 2003, just before her 17th birthday.

She was held prisoner by Ariel Castro. She suffered much abuse in his company for over a decade.

Thankfully in May 2013, Berry managed to escape; she was also able to rescue the two other victims taken by Castro; Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus.

Berry’s traumatic ordeal made the case a media sensation.

Teen years and kidnapping

Berry was born on April 22nd 1986, and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio.

In her teens, Berry had landed a job at her local Burger King, but curiously disappeared walking home from work one night.

She was last seen on April 21st, a day before her 17th birthday.

It would later be disclosed that a man called Castro has lured her into his vehicle.

Berry was listed as a missing person, with her mother Louwana Miller pushing for there to be more coverage regarding her daughter’s disappearance; disregarding any notions that Berry had run away.

Unfortunately, Miller passed away with her daughter still missing.

Berry’s escape

During her decade-long confinement, Berry and the other victims endured unimaginable abuse as they were chained, starved, and tortured by the sick-minded man known as Castro.

Berry had actually given birth while being held at Castro’s house, a baby girl who she named Jocelyn; Berry’s daughter would turn out to be the key to her escape.

One day, the young child mentioned to Berry and the other two women that Castro’s car wasn’t outside, nor was he anywhere in the house. For the first time since her capture, Berry’s door had been accidentally left unlocked whilst Castro was out – she did not pass up this chance to break free.

With help from a passing neighbour, Berry was able to kick her way out through a storm door in her captor’s home.

On the evening of May 6th, 2013, 10 years after she was taken, Berry appeared in the doorway of 2207 Seymour Avenue, running from the residence and screaming for help.

Angelo Cordero and Charles Ramsey came to her aid to help her break out of the storm door; however, they both presented conflicting accounts of their involvement.

Berry eventually found shelter and called 911, stating who she was and that she was the girl who went missing all those years ago.

The other two victims, Knight and DeJesus, were rescued later that night by Cleveland officers when they arrived at Castro’s residence.

Reunited with family

Both Berry and DeJesus were reunited with their families on May 8th, 2013; Knight was still regrettably hospitalized.

Berry’s sister, Beth Serrano, made a public statement thanking those who wisher her sister well in the years she was missing.

The Cleveland Courage Fund was set up in order to provide resources for the trio of women.

Castro’s arrest

Police soon arrested Castro at his Seymour Avenue residence that held the girls captive for so many years. He was out drinking when Berry had made her escape.

Ariel Castro in court / Picture Credit: ABC News on YouTube
Ariel Castro in court / Picture Credit: ABC News on YouTube

Castro reportedly kept the women chained up in the basement of his house for lengthy periods of time; they regularly withstood shocking treatment.

While held hostage, Berry gave birth to a daughter. A paternity test conducted after her escape, proved Castro to be the father.

Castro was formally accused of kidnapping Berry, DeJesus and Knight, and keeping them hostage in his Cleveland home.

He was indicted on 329 charges, including 177 counts of kidnapping, 139 counts of rape, and two counts of aggravated murder for forcing abortions.

Late that same July (2013), Castro pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty.

On August 1st, 2013, the monster known as Castro was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years without the possibility of parole. Only Knight attended the hearing.

Castro was found dead in his cell on September 3rd, 2013. He had hung himself with his bedsheets; a sad ending as he didn’t serve his sentence and deserved to rot in prison.

Life after abduction

While Knight went her own way after the ordeal, Berry and DeJesus grew closer from their shared trauma.

They even wrote a book together in 2015 titled Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland.

In May of 2015, both women received honorary diplomas from John Marshall High School.

Along with her devotion to raising her daughter, Jocelyn, Berry has sought to aid other families of kidnapping victims by hosting a missing persons segment on a local news station.

Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal

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