Updates on lives of freed women, abductor, rescuer
What has happened over the last year to the three women held captive in a Cleveland home and the others involved in their disappearance and rescue:
She made her first public appearance at a Cleveland rap concert in July a day after Ariel Castro pleaded guilty but has kept a low-profile for much of the year. Berry has not talked publicly about what happened to her, but she is working on a book with fellow captive Gina DeJesus that is due out next year. All three women appeared on stage together in February when they received Gov. John Kasich’s annual courage award.
The youngest of the three, DeJesus also has stayed out of the spotlight. Her first public appearance came in August, when she rode atop a car in Cleveland’s Puerto Rican Day parade. Her parents have been active in helping the families of missing people in the Cleveland area and encouraging others not to forget those who haven’t been found. DeJesus celebrated her 24th birthday in February at a winter-themed ball. She and Berry will be recognized by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at an event in Washington on Tuesday, the anniversary of their escape.
The oldest and the first of the women to be kidnapped, Knight has also been the most outspoken since they were freed, talking in detail about her ordeal on the “Dr. Phil” show in November. Her memoir, “Finding Me,” is being released Tuesday. She said she wants to give victims of violence a new outlook on life. Knight was the only one of Castro’s victims to show up at his sentencing. “You took 11 years of my life away, and I have got it back,” she told him. Before Castro’s house was torn down in August, she released balloons that represent “all the millions of children that were never found and the ones that passed away that were never heard.”
Just a month into his life sentence, Castro was found dead in his prison cell in September. Investigators concluded he committed suicide by hanging. He wrote in a prison journal that he was harassed by guards and that he didn’t “know if I can take this neglect anymore, and the way I’m being treated.” Castro told a judge at sentencing that he suffered from addictions to sex and pornography. “I’m not a monster. I’m sick,” he said.
The man who put down his Big Mac to help rescue the three women is out with a new book “Dead Giveaway.” Ramsey, Castro’s neighbor, recounts how he heard screaming from the home and helped Berry escape through the front door. He also details how his life has changed since then. His animated TV interviews describing how he was eating a hamburger when he flew into action turned him into a hero. Restaurants in the Cleveland area promised him free hamburgers, and he still is stopped around the city by admirers who want to take photos with him.