The Cleveland Kidnappings on ID is examining the sickening crimes of Ariel Castro, who between 2002 and 2004 kidnapped Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus and held them in his home in Cleveland, Ohio until 2013.
Castro inflicted horrendous torture and abuse on his three victims, but their determination and bravery meant they managed to carry on and eventually escape.
Castro abducted 21-year-old Michelle Knight in August 2002 by tricking her into his car and then restraining her at this home. In April 2003, he struck again when he kidnapped 16-year-old Amanda Berry and locked her in a closet.
Almost exactly a year later, in April 2004, he lured 14-year-old Gina DeJesus into his basement before restraining her. She had been a friend of his daughters.
The women were kept in the most despicable circumstances. They were imprisoned in tiny closet-like rooms and were forced to sleep on filthy mattresses, and only had a bucket to use the bathroom.
The three were regularly abused, physically and sexually. Their diet consisted of only chips and snacks, and they were often starved by Castro.
Amanda Berry made a daring escape from Ariel Castro
Knight, Berry, and DeJesus endured these horrendous conditions for approximately a decade until May 6, 2013, when Castro left the house, leaving a door unlocked. Berry managed to alert a passerby by screaming for help; they helped her kick in a storm door allowing Berry and her daughter to escape; she had given birth while in captivity.
Berry then ran to a neighbor’s house, where she dialed 911 and told the operator, “I’ve been kidnapped and been missing for ten years. I’m here. I’m free now.”
Castro was promptly arrested and charged with multiple counts of kidnapping and rape. He subsequently pleaded guilty to a shocking 937 counts of kidnapping and rape. In August 2013, he was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years. A month later, he committed suicide by hanging himself with the bedsheets in his cell.
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The Cleveland Kidnappings airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.