The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

May 9, 2013

Cleveland man arraigned on rape, kidnap charges

(Continued)

An officer on the recorded call says, "This might be for real."

After police arrive at the house, women can be heard crying in the background. Then an officer tells the dispatcher: "We found 'em. We found 'em."

Tomba said of Berry, "Something must have clicked and she saw an opportunity and she took that opportunity."

He said the women could remember being outside only twice during their entire time in captivity. "We were told they left the house and went into the garage in disguise," he said.

Also in the house was Berry's 6-year-old daughter. A paternity test on Castro was being done to establish whether he fathered the child.

While prosecutors announced charges against Castro, federal agents searched a vacant house near where the women had been held. Officials would only say their search was an attempt to get evidence in the case against Castro, but they refused to say what they found or what led them there.

Castro was in custody and couldn't be reached for comment. A brother-in-law has said the family was shocked after hearing about the women at the home.

Few people in Cleveland, outside the families of the women, thought there was any chance they were still alive.

Berry, 27, and Gina DeJesus, 22, were welcomed home Wednesday by jubilant crowds of loved ones and neighbors with balloons and banners. Family members hustled them inside, past hundreds of reporters and onlookers.

Neither woman spoke.

"This is the best Mother's Day I could ever have," said Nancy Ruiz, Gina's mother. She said she hugged her daughter and didn't want to let go.

Ruiz said she spent time with all three women after they were rescued. "There's no word to describe the beauty of just seeing them," she said.

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