Life inside Cleveland 'house of horrors' revealed

ninemsn staff
10:22am May 9, 2013
May 09, 2013: Radio traffic has been released that shows the Cleveland police's point of view in responding to the house where three missing people were found alive.

Kidnapping victim Amanda Berry gave birth to her daughter Jocelyn in a small inflatable pool inside Ariel Castro's Cleveland home so the mess would be "easier to clean up".

Her fellow captive Michele Knight was forced to deliver the baby, having been told by Castro that if the child died, so would she, Ohio TV news station WKYC claims.

The heartbreaking story is just one of a series of chilling details to emerge of life inside the "house of horrors" 52-year-old Ariel Castro allegedly created for Berry, Knight and Gina DeJesus.

Investigators who stormed the Seymore Avenue residence on Monday described finding the home in "disarray".

Audio of the police radio traffic has revealed the shock of the first officer to arrive at the home.

"This might be for real," he is heard saying.

May 08, 2013: Beth Serrano has made her first statement to the media since her sister Amanda Berry escaped from a house in Cleveland where she had been held captive for 10 years.

"Georgina DeJesus might be in this house also."

Chains, ropes and other bondage devices were found hanging from walls and ceilings, used to shackle the women during their decade of imprisonment.

"We have confirmation that they were bound, and there were chains and ropes in the home," Cleveland police chief Michael McGrath said.

At least one victim was chained to a wall "like some kind of trophy," a police source told WKYC-TV in Cleveland.

Other reports citing police sources suggest there were holes in the walls and doors for sliding things through, such as meals.

"They were kept in a dungeon with chains. It was a sexual torture chamber run by this guy acting out his sick fantasies," Khalid Samad, a former Cleveland assistant safety director who saw the three women in hospital, claims.

May 08, 2013: US police have charged Ariel Castro, the owner of a home where three women were found after a decade in captivity, with three counts of rape and four counts of kidnapping.

Mr Samad is close to the families of the missing women due to his years of involvement in various searches for them.

He claims the women suffered multiple miscarriages inside the house due to savage physical assaults.

Amanda Berry may have had as many as five miscarriages due to Castro punching her in the stomach, a police source told Cleveland's Channel 5 News.

Police, however, have not publicly confirmed claims of multiple pregnancies.

The three women, who police allege were kidnapped as teens and raped by Ariel Castro, are believed to have been kept isolated from each other in locked rooms in the basement and attic.

"They were not in one room, but they did know each other and they did know each other was there," McGrath told reporters in a press conference this morning.

Nightmare over for abducted women
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Windows inside the house were boarded up or covered with plastic while others were blacked out by blinds.

Ariel Castro's son Anthony described how certain rooms in the house were off limits and kept behind locked doors.

"There were places we could never go," he told the Daily Mail. "There were locks on the basement. Locks on the attic. Locks on the garage."

The captives were only twice allowed to leave the home for short periods, and on these occasions never went further than the garage.

During these outings they were reportedly "disguised".

Locked in the house for nearly 10 years, the women were allegedly subjected to psychological, as well as physical, abuse.

Ariel Castro's Facebook profile picture.
Ariel Castro's Facebook profile picture.

TV news station WOIO cited law enforcement agents as saying Ariel Castro would routinely play a "dangerous game" with the women by announcing he was leaving before waiting to see if they would try to escape.

The test was designed to instill a fear of escape in the women, a ploy which appears to have worked for nearly 10 years - until Monday.

"The only opportunity, after interviewing the young ladies, to escape was the other day when Amanda escaped," McGrath told reporters today.

But the women are believed to have had some limited contact with the outside world from inside their prison.

On emerging from the home, Amanda Berry said she had "been on TV for the last 10 years" and is even said to have watched broadcasts of vigils held for her after she went missing, CNN reports.

Police today charged Castro with four counts of kidnapping and three charges of sexual assault, while his brothers Pedro and Onil were released without charge.

The window in the attic where the women are believed to have been kept.
The window in the attic where the women are believed to have been kept.

With the three women still recovering – Berry and DeJesus reunited with their relatives and Knight recuperating in hospital – the families are asking for patience as millions around the world look for answers.

Sources: Channel 5 News, WKYC, CNN, Daily Mail, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Author: Matthew Henry. Approving editor: Fiona Willan.

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