The morning after three women were rescued from nearly a decade of captivity, there aren't many more answers to the biggest question of all: How did their kidnappers get away with it for ten years? Police and FBI officials in Cleveland held a brief press conference this morning on the rescue of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight, and despite a few important updates, they were forced to admit that there is much about this story that is still unknown.
(Update, 1:42 p.m: Local news reports are beginning to reveal some disgusting new details.)
The biggest piece of new information is that the young child who was rescued at the house along with the other women is indeed the daughter of Amanda Berry. Police wouldn't speculate as to who the father is, or where the girl was born, but like all three of the victims, she appears to be perfectly healthy. Berry, DeJesus, and Knight have all been released from the hospital and returned to their families. Police also praised Berry as "the real hero" for triggering the escape and bring police to the scene.
Police did announced that despite numerous tips over the years related to the kidnappings, they never had any indication or clues that would have directed them to look for the women at the house where they were found. City records indicate that there have never been any violations or complaints registered to that address. Police have only visited the address twice: Once in 2000, for a fight in the street (there were no arrests), and a second time in 2004, when Child Protective Services conducted an investigation related to Ariel Castro's job as a bus driver. (He inadvertently left a sleeping child on his bus, but it was a ruled a honest mistake and no charges were ever filed.)
Police did say that all three men living at the house—the owner, Ariel Castro, and his two brothers, Pedro and Oneil—are now under arrest and will soon be charged.
Beyond that, there is still a ton that we don't know and may not know for weeks or months. Police don't know how the women were kidnapped, they don't know what happened to them in that house, and they can't explain how the women lived there for so long without being noticed. All three women and all three suspects are still alive and well, so perhaps they will eventually reveal the whole story, but right now an eager public will just have to wait to hear it.
Finally, police maintained that this is still an open investigation, and it will be several days before the FBI can even finish processing the house as a crime scene. They've also called on locals to share any information they might have. The FBI also says that at this time, there's no indication that the case extends outside the neighborhood, though they are looking at the possibility that the suspects could be tied to other kidnappings around the country.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.