2 abducted Cleveland women return to their homes
Two of the three women held in a Cleveland home for about 10 years have returned to the homes of their families, while authorities say the third woman is in good condition in a local hospital.
A Metro Health Medical Center hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday that Michelle Knight, 32, was in good condition at the hospital. The medical centre had said she was released Tuesday; it wasn't clear whether she had been readmitted or if she actually never left the hospital.
Knight, Amanda Berry, 27, and Gina DeJesus, about 23, were rescued from a home in Cleveland on Monday. All three had disappeared separately roughly a decade ago.
Berry was expected to address the media after arriving at a home in Cleveland Wednesday morning, but instead her sister delivered a brief statement.
"I want to thank the public and the media for their support and [encouragement] over the years and at this time our family would request privacy so my sister and niece and I can have time to recover," Beth Serrano said.
A six-year-old girl was also rescued from the home along with the three women and police said earlier that they believed she was Berry's daughter.
During her statement, Serrano said the family was glad to have Berry and "her daughter" home, an apparent reference to the six-year-old girl.
Police haven't said who is the father of the child.
DeJesus returned to her family's home in the afternoon to chants of "Gina! Gina!"
Wearing a bright yellow hooded sweatshirt, she was led through the crowd and into the house by a woman who put her arm around the young woman's shoulders and held her tight.
DeJesus did not speak, but family thanked the media, authorities and people who helped in the search.
Aunt Sandra Ruiz asked people not to retaliate against the suspects or their families, and instead leave the authorities to do their jobs. She also asked the media for patience.
"When we're ready, we promise, each and every one of you guys, we will talk to you," she said.
Gina's mother, Nancy Ruiz, said she wanted to thank everybody who believed in her.
"Even the ones that doubted, I still want to thank them the most, because they're the ones that made me stronger, the ones that made me feel the most that my daughter was out there," she said.
Gina's father, Felix DeJesus, said the case shows the "big problem" that the United States has.
"Let's unite," he said. "It doesn't matter what skin colour we are. Let's fix this problem."
Women were physically bound
The abducted women were physically bound and only allowed outside "very rarely," the city's police chief told a U.S. TV network Wednesday morning.
"We have confirmation that they were bound — that there were chains and ropes in the home," Michael McGrath told NBC's morning show Today.
Sammy Morris, a police spokesman, confirmed that restraints were found by law enforcement officials combing the house. McGrath said the women were only allowed out "once in awhile," but they didn't appear to be malnourished.
"Their physical well-being was very good, considering the circumstances," he said.
Suspects expected to be charged Wednesday
McGrath said the information about chains and ropes in the home came from interviews with women, which started Tuesday night.
The owner of the home, Ariel Castro, 52, was arrested along with his two brothers Pedro Castro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50. Calls to the jail where they are being held went unanswered, and there was no response to interview requests sent to police, the jail and city officials.
McGrath said the men were also talking with investigators and that he expected charges to be filed against the suspects on Wednesday.
The incredible story of three women, which has garnered international media attention and elated family and friends, began after a neighbour, Charles Ramsey, noticed Berry attempting to get out of a home in Cleveland.
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He helped her escape and Berry placed a frantic 911 phone call in which she said she had been kidnapped and missing for the past 10 years.
Suspect helped search for DeJesus
A friend of the DeJesus family earlier said that Ariel Castro distributed flyers after the girl disappeared and played music at a fundraiser in her honour.
He also attended a neighbourhood candlelight vigil a year ago to remember the girl.
Castro, just like everyone else in the tight-knit, mostly Puerto Rican neighbourhood, seemed shaken by the 2004 disappearance of Gina DeJesus and another teenager, Amanda Berry, who went missing the year before.
About a week ago, Castro took a six-year-old girl to a nearby park, where they played in the grass, said Israel Lugo, a neighbour who lives down the street. "I asked him whose kid was it, and he told me his girlfriend's daughter," Lugo said.
His son, Anthony Castro, said in an interview with London's Daily Mail newspaper that he now speaks with his father just a few times a year and seldom visited his house. He said on his last visit, two weeks ago, his father wouldn't let him inside.
"The house was always locked," he said. "There were places we could never go. There were locks on the basement. Locks on the attic. Locks on the garage."
With files from The Associated Press