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Three Women Missing for Years Found Alive

Aired May 6, 2013 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back to our continuing breaking news, an extraordinary story out of Cleveland tonight.

If you have been watching CNN, this story broke around 8:00 this evening. We have been covering it really nonstop since.

The latest information that we have, three women, Georgina DeJesus, Amanda Berry, and Michelle Knight, who disappeared in Cleveland all in similar areas not far from each other in Cleveland.

Georgina DeJesus disappeared in 2004. Amanda Berry disappeared in 2000 -- disappeared in 2003 and Michelle knight in 2002. All have been found alive in the same house. A man by the name of Ariel Castro, 52 years old, a bus driver, has been arrested. He is the suspect in this.

Amanda Berry was seen by a neighbor trying to break out of the house. That neighbor, a man by the name of Ramsey, of Charles Ramsey, helped her break out. She ran out of the house with a small child, ran to a neighbor's house and dialed 911. This is the 911 call she made from Amanda Berry.


AMANDA BERRY, RESCUED AFTER 10 YEARS: Help me. I'm Amanda Berry!

911 OPERATOR: You need police, fire or ambulance?

BERRY: I need police.

911 OPERATOR: OK. What's going on there?

BERRY: I have been kidnapped and I have been with him for 10 years and I'm here. I'm free now.

911 OPERATOR: OK. What's your address?

BERRY: (INAUDIBLE) I can't hear you.

911 OPERATOR: It looks like you're calling me from (INAUDIBLE)

BERRY: I'm using the phone.

911 OPERATOR: OK. Stay there with those neighbors. Talk to the police when they get there. BERRY: OK.

911 OPERATOR: OK, talk to the police when they get there.

BERRY: OK. Hello?

911 OPERATOR: Yes. Talk to the police when they get there.

BERRY: OK. Are they on their way right now?

911 OPERATOR: Yes, as soon as we get a car open.

BERRY: No, I need them now, before he gets back.

911 OPERATOR: All right, we're sending them, OK?


911 OPERATOR: Who's the guy you're -- who's the guy who went out?

BERRY: His name is (INAUDIBLE) -

911 OPERATOR: All right. How old is he?

BERRY: He's like 52.

911 OPERATOR: All right.

BERRY: I'm Amanda Berry. I have been on the news for the last 10 years.

911 OPERATOR: Okay. I got that. You said -- what was his name again?


911 OPERATOR: And is he white, black or Hispanic?

BERRY: He's Hispanic.

911 OPERATOR: What's he wearing?

BERRY: I don't know, because he's not here right now.


911 OPERATOR: When he left, what was he wearing?


911 OPERATOR: The police are on the way. Talk to them when they get there, OK?


911 OPERATOR: I told you they're on the way. Talk to them when they get there.

BERRY: All right. OK.

911 OPERATOR: Thank you.



COOPER: Now, there have been conflicting eyewitness accounts of how old the child with Amanda Berry is. Some have said she was around 3 or 4 years old. some have said as old as 9 years old.

Joining me on the phone is Brian Cummins, a Cleveland city councilman who represents the area where the women were found.

Councilman Cummins, appreciate you joining us.

Do you know anything about the condition of these three women rescued from that home?

BRIAN CUMMINS, CLEVELAND COUNCILMAN: No, I don't. I'm actually just arriving at the house, but I will now ask another colleague or two at the hospital that I'm going to be meeting with shortly.

COOPER: Have you been able to talk to law enforcement? What have you heard about this?

CUMMINS: Well, we do know that the law enforcement, the division of police, sheriff's office, FBI, there's multiple agencies involved.

They are going to be holding a news conference at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. They -- just to give a little local aspect of the administration of this case right now, this is an ongoing investigation. It was never closed. And they literally just got the warrant to search the house just about half-an-hour ago, I believe.

They have got to go through the process of getting a warrant and meticulously continue with this investigation.

COOPER: Obviously, incredibly important that they get that right, so there's no rush on that.

To your knowledge, though, there have been conflicting reports about whether there was one child or two children found with these three women. Do you have any confirmation on whether it was one or two?

CUMMINS: No, I don't.

We keep hearing what most people hear. We have heard on the street recently that the rumor was that there was a 6-year-old child, but nothing more than that.

COOPER: Some neighbors -- can you describe what this neighborhood is like and what sort of an impact the disappearance, particularly of Amanda Berry and Georgina DeJesus, because they were minors at the time they disappeared, what kind of impact that had in this neighborhood?

CUMMINS: Well, it was a pretty devastating impact in terms of fear, as you can imagine, for families across the city.

To put a perspective on it, the suspect's house is approximately 2200 block, just off of West 25th Street, a major arterial street of ours. But there was activities. One of the victims, I believe, is from the 105th area. So this stretch is a pretty broad area of the west side of Cleveland, and just had a devastating impact on families throughout the area, particularly because these young women were school-age young women at the time of the abductions.

COOPER: There have also been -- and often early reports, as we all know, can be incorrect -- but there have been two conflicting reports, one that both of these women, Amanda Berry and Georgina DeJesus, the areas that they disappeared in, I have been told by one reporter saying it was a few blocks from the house where they were actually found, someone else saying it was several miles. Can you confirm one or the other?

CUMMINS: Yes, it's probably -- it's probably a little less than -- probably about a quarter-mile, I would say, maybe a third, between a quarter and a half-a-mile. It's not that far.

West 25th Street, as I said, is a major arterial street. Park Avenue is where I think that person was probably indicating. It's just -- it's another secondary arterial street not that far from there.

COOPER: Cleveland police have said they do have a 52-year-old Hispanic male in custody. Can you tell us more about him?

CUMMINS: All we know is that we do know some family members, relatives of his, that we have spoken to already.

We have got a crime and safety coordinator already at the DeJesuses' family's house just because we have a lot of people. It's a very tight community. A lot of people know each other. There's been vigils. There was just a vigil two weeks ago, in fact. The families have never given up on this. So, it's a pretty tight-knit community. And we do know a little bit about some of the family relations of the alleged suspect, Ariel Castro, but not a whole lot to tell you right now. We're just really getting the information ourselves.

COOPER: He was a school bus driver?

CUMMINS: That's what I have been told.

I don't have the definitive information. We were actually in council. City of Cleveland Council meets on Monday evenings. And we actually were in a meeting when the news broke. So with respect to the police's work and our work, we finished our meeting about 8:00, and that's when we have been on it in terms of trying to confirm information and, frankly, just really talked to neighbors and trying to make sure that people are calm in the of course very celebratory mood, but a very bittersweet mood in terms of knowing that this might close one chapter, but there's obviously a lot of information to understand in terms of what led and what occurred over the past 10 years.

COOPER: There's also another young woman who has been missing in that same area. But we don't have any information about her or if that is in any way linked to these other three who have been found. That young woman has not been found.

CUMMINS: Yes, that's correct. But, again, I would rather not comment.


CUMMINS: There's a lot of information on the street right now. And, I mean, apart from, you know, really just explaining that, you know, I think it's incredible that the families had so much confidence, and very prayerful families in terms of their vigils and their vigilance in believing that their daughters were not killed as yet. It's just incredible. The community is extremely joyous, the fact that their prayers have come true.

COOPER: And also the vigilance of a neighbor who apparently saw Amanda Berry attempting to get out of the house, to extricate herself from this house, and he intervened. His name is Charles Ramsey.

Mr. Cummins, if you can, just stay with us. I just want to play for our viewers what Charles Ramsey told a local reporter tonight when he suddenly heard Amanda Berry screaming for help. Listen.


CHARLES RAMSEY, WITNESS: I heard screaming. I'm eating my McDonald's. I come outside, and I see this girl going nuts, trying to get out of her house.

So I go on the porch -- I go on the porch and she says help me get out. I have been here a long time. So, I figured it's a domestic violence dispute, so I open the door and we can't get in that way, but how the door is, it's so much that a body can't fit through. Only your hand.

So we kicked the bottom, and she comes out with a little girl, and she says, call 911. My name is Amanda Berry.

QUESTION: And did you know who that was when she said that?

RAMSEY: When she told me, it didn't register until I got the call of 911. And then I'm like, I'm calling 911 for Amanda Berry? I thought this girl was dead. You know what I mean?

And she got on the phone and she said, yes, this is me. And the detective right here -- Detective Gregory Cook says, Charles, do you know who you rescued? See, the girl Amanda told the police, I ain't just the only one. It's some more girls up in that house.

So they were going up there, 30, 40 deep. And when they came out, it was just astonishing, because I thought they would come up with nothing, because, because we see this dude every day. I mean every day.

QUESTION: How long have they lived here?

RAMSEY: I have been here a year.


RAMSEY: You see where I'm coming from?


RAMSEY: I barbecue with this dude. We eat ribs and whatnot and listen to salsa music. You see where I'm coming from?

QUESTION: And you had no indication that there was anything...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bro, not a clue that that girl was in that house, or anybody else was in there against their will, because how he is, is, he just comes out to his backyard, plays with the dogs, tinkering with his cars and motorcycles, goes back in the house.

So he's somebody that you look and look away, because he's not doing nothing but the average stuff. You see what I'm saying? There's nothing exciting about him. Well, until today.


COOPER: Charles Ramsey, who helped Amanda Berry escape from that house. Extraordinary to hear from him, relatively new to the neighborhood, he is.

Joining me now is John Walsh, victim's advocate, host of "America's Most Wanted." Also on the phone is John Ryan, the CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

John Walsh, you and I have been often together on programs where the end result is a nightmare and horrific. It is a joy to be with you tonight where three young women have been given their lives back.

JOHN WALSH, FORMER HOST, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": Anderson, I can't tell you how ecstatic I am, because you're absolutely right. The odds of thing your child back after all these years are slim to none.

And here is an adult woman and two girls that were children when they were kidnaps, 17 and 14. To come back alive is incredible. And if I could be there to hug that man, Charles Ramsey, who came off the street and saw this girl -- and he said it. You just heard him say it: I'm a black man. This is a white girl that's waving to me. It might be a domestic dispute. He breaks down the door. She been in there approximately 10 years, saves her life, probably her child's life, and the other two women that are in there and allegedly another child. I mean, he's a real hero. When the public gets involved, they can break these cases.

But, Anderson, I'm ecstatic, because I'm the parent of a missing child that was found murdered. I know what it is to not know what happened to her your child. I'm sure Amanda Berry doesn't know that her mother died when she was in there, they say died of a broken heart looking for her.

And Gina DeJesus' mother never gave up looking for her. That family would have a vigil every year. I had profiled on "America's Most Wanted" multiple times. I'm absolutely ecstatic that these girls are live.

COOPER: I have been reading a lot of the details in the disappearance, for instance, of Amanda Berry, last scene after she finished her shift at a Burger King.

Extraordinary. About a week after she disappeared, her mother received a call from a man saying he had married Amanda and that call -- and then when the mother asked to speak -- and that she would be able to see Amanda in a few days -- when the mother asked to speak to Amanda, the man hung up.

That call was traced actually to Amanda's cell phone. But then there were no further leads on the case. Again, we don't know who that man was, if it is, in fact, the suspect who has apparently been holding her or been with her in this house all this time.

How is it, John -- and, obviously, John, there's going to be a lot of questions and a lot of answers we will be getting in the days and the weeks ahead. But how often is it that abducted kids are found so close to where they first disappeared?

WALSH: Well, you know, this has happened a few times before. Jaycee Dugard was kept in the backyard for 18 years. And what a coincidence. She's coming here. I'm in Washington, D.C. to give her a Courage Award tomorrow at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's Hope Awards.

And this girl has been counseled for the last year-and-a-half. She was kept in a backyard for 18 years and raped repeatedly by her kidnapper and had two children. So, it is phenomenal that these girls are alive. And the first thing that they need -- and I saw the doctor in the press conference who really didn't say anything at the hospital they're at -- the first thing they need is counseling.

The first thing is a psychiatrist. They're -- I hope they're healthy, and I'm sure they are. But think what it must be like to bear a child, to love that child and raise that child in captivity, like Jaycee Dugard, and that child is the result of a sexual assault by your kidnapper.

So, there's a lot of work to be done here. I know that Amanda Berry's mother questioned all the time why police initially said that she was probably a runaway because she was one day short of her 17th birthday. But these are families who never gave up looking. And I'm the biggest supporter of law enforcement.

And I say that you cannot assume somebody is a runaway. You can never give up hope. You cannot stop looking. You cannot -- questioning people. And the public is key to solving these cases. But there is so much to be revealed. And there is so much work that has to be done with the adult woman that was there that we don't even know that much about, the woman that was 20 years old when she was kidnapped.

COOPER: Right.

WALSH: I'm sure she's still got family looking. And here is the side of it that nobody's talking about, Anderson.

I would hate to think that Michelle Knight, at 20 years old, might have -- and I hope this isn't the case -- it probably isn't -- but Phillip Garrido that kept Jaycee Dugard in his backyard had a woman accomplice.

Elizabeth Smart, her kidnapper had his wife, crazy Wanda Barzee, that helped him keep those children. I hope that Michelle Knight was a victim and in there for 10 years and has been recovered. I hope she wasn't forced to help him get these other girls, younger girls.

But I have seen many pedophiles that have kept children, get sick of the children when they got older, and go for younger children. But whatever the bottom line is, I hope this guy is prosecuted to the full extent and that these girls don't go and talk to the media until they have had psychological counseling.

COOPER: And, again, assuming Michelle Knight was abducted at -- back in 2002, at the age of -- I believe she was 20 then, I think it's important also to point out that children are looked for. Adults who go missing are not searched for in the same way, correct, John?


Anderson, it is -- I have learned so much in the 31 years since my son was murdered. And I have profiled so many missing adult women. I have helped capture or look for so many serial killers, like Ted Bundy. Every one of his victims was listed as a runaway. None of them were runaways. They were grabbed by a charming, handsome serial killer.

And the attitude amongst law enforcement is that if you're over 18 years old, you have the right to run away, yes. But you have to dig deeper. You have to go to everybody those young women knew and say, maybe she didn't runaway. Maybe she wasn't on drugs. Maybe she wasn't alcoholic. There might be a terrible, terrible person involved here.

And I'm still waiting and hope I see those changes made before I pass away that law enforcement has to take the attitude that maybe Michelle Knight was a 20-year-old woman. Maybe -- maybe Amanda was a close-to-17-year-old young girl. You can't assume that they're not in terrible trouble. You can't seal their death warrant by not looking for them. But these families never gave up, Anderson, and I could do cartwheels tonight.

COOPER: No doubt about it.

We have got to take a quick break. We're going to talk to John Ryan from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Also, we're going to talk to a reporter from "The Cleveland Plain Dealer" when we come right back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Cleveland police, it looks like, being greeted by applause from the people of this community. They want to celebrate something. They want to celebrate someone. And they will celebrate the police.


COOPER: And there is a lot of celebration in a lot of different parts of Cleveland and probably all throughout the United States tonight, as we follow the breaking news, the extraordinary news, three women found alive in a house in Cleveland after being missing for up to 13 years in some cases.

Rachel Dissell of "The Cleveland Plain Dealer" is on the phone. She joins us now.

What are you learning at this point about this suspect, this Ariel Castro?

RACHEL DISSELL, "THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER": Well, it's really interesting.

All of the neighbors that I have spoken to have basically said that they had no idea that anybody else was in the house, that his daughter would come over with his grandson. They never saw any of these women or the child.

I talked to his uncle, Julio Castro, who owns a store just at the corner of the street and right across the avenue there. And, you know, he said he had never seen his nephew with any of these women. He said his nephew was a school bus driver and a musician, and that everybody would tell you he was a beautiful person, if you asked them.

You know, I talked to some over people that have known him for going on 20, 25 years. And they're all in shock by this, though we have heard some reports out of people that work with the Cleveland Municipal School District, where he was a bus driver, who said there were some little inklings that he had something going on because he got in trouble a number of times for bringing his school bus back to his house. You're not allowed to do that. COOPER: I also read...

DISSELL: The details at this point are kind of sketchy, but a lot of people in shock. Not -- usually, at these types of crimes, these people walk up and they say, oh, yes, I knew this guy was bad. And nobody was saying that.

COOPER: I also read in "The Cleveland Plain Dealer" that records show he was arrested for domestic violence in 1993, but a grand jury declined to indict him?

DISSELL: Sure. And that was quite a long time ago now.


DISSELL: So, it's -- in the recent past, he has not had any criminal history that we have seen.

COOPER: Let me ask you, though, you said that neighbors report that his daughter would come by with his grandson. So was he -- he has a daughter? Was that an actual daughter, or is that one of these women who they believed was a daughter? Do we know?

DISSELL: No, no, he has an actual daughter who would come over with his grandsons and visit. And everybody in the neighborhood knew the daughter from her growing up. He lived in this house and his family lived in this neighborhood for quite a long time. So, it's not like he was somebody that just moved into a house the neighbors barely knew. Many of these people have known him for several decades.

COOPER: So, if he had a daughter who would come and visit with grandchildren, clearly, that person is somebody police will want to talk to if she was actually visiting the house? And, again, we don't know the situation.

DISSELL: Sure. I would guess. I don't want to assume what she knew or didn't know.

I looked at one of the photos on his Facebook page. There's photos of his daughter, photos of his grandson, photos of some other relatives. No photos from -- that looked that there -- was in the house of anybody else. Even the little girl that was taken out of the house, there's no photos of her.


COOPER: It's also interesting in the 911 call that Amanda Berry made to authorities that we played at the top of the hour and that we will replay shortly, she said to the 9/11 operator that basically she made it clear that she was aware that she's been in the news for the past 10 years, which seems to indicate she was at least aware that people were looking for her, that her name had been -- continued to be in the news for the last 10 years.

I'm not sure what to make of that, if anything.

DISSELL: Yes, I don't know.

I mean, I think that we will only start to find out, you know, a little bit at a time after some time what these women -- what their living situation was like. I think that we have some really great trauma counselors here in Cleveland, some of the best in the country, who have worked with victims of violence in other situations like this.

So, I'm thinking that they're probably going to be connected with these women so they can help kind of decompress from this situation and talk through what happened.


COOPER: Rachel, I want to bring in Gail Mitchell, who is Amanda Berry's aunt. She is joining us on the phone.

Gale, I can't imagine what is going through your mind. How are you doing?


COOPER: Yes, Gale. It's Anderson Cooper. You're on the air.

Oh, I'm sorry.

COOPER: It's OK. How are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because Cashina (ph) just walked in.

COOPER: How are you doing?

MITCHELL: I'm doing all right. I'm just happy and excited, and for Beth and for Teddy and for the aunts.

And I don't know about the grandma, if she's still living or not. I haven't really been in touch with many people after Louwana passed. Beth and my daughter stays in touch. And I know Beth has got to be ecstatic. I just -- oh, my goodness.

COOPER: Did you ever give up hope?

MITCHELL: Theresa has got to be ecstatic. I mean, it's just -- it's just wonderful. I just can't get over it. It's just so great. I mean...

COOPER: I know your family, people in the neighborhood have continued vigils. Did you ever give up hope?

MITCHELL: Oh, no, no.

Me and my daughter, neither one did. My daughter just had a feeling that she was still alive. So did I. It's just you don't give up hope. You just pray and pray and pray, you know? I just wish Louwana was here.


MITCHELL: It's sad that she had to go, but she went with a broken heart.


MITCHELL: She took it really bad. I was with her after a few months. I lived with her for a few months after Amanda became missing.

COOPER: That was Amanda's mom who died in 2006.

So your daughter just saw Amanda at the hospital; is that correct?

MITCHELL: She didn't get to see her, no.

COOPER: She didn't. OK.

MITCHELL: No, uh-uh. She just came in.

COOPER: I understand that about a week after Amanda disappeared, a man actually called Amanda's mom on Amanda's cell phone.

MITCHELL: Yes. Yes, it was supposed to be from Clark Avenue.

COOPER: What do you make of that? What was made of that at the time?

MITCHELL: Well, there was some really -- they went and investigated it. And that's what I said. I said, she's right in the neighborhood.

Just like when her body -- they said that they found bodies up on Seymour. That was crazy. It was like, she's got to be around somewhere then, I mean, if they're -- they found the bodies. They're saying they found a body by there. And had a big get-to-do over there digging up things.

COOPER: Right. And of course nobody was found.

MITCHELL: And here right down street.


How far from where Amanda disappeared -- I mean, she was last seen I guess leaving -- or when her shift was over at the Burger King. How far is that from the location where she was found?

MITCHELL: My goodness, it's not that far at all. You figure that's on -- off Lorain on 100th and Seymour is on 25th by Clark, between Clark and Denison.


COOPER: About, what, a mile, quarter-of-a-mile? MITCHELL: Yes. It's about two, three miles away from her home.

COOPER: Two, three miles.

COOPER: That's extraordinary.

MITCHELL: Her house is just down from Burger King.

COOPER: What do you want to say to her? How do you -- how do you process this? I can't even imagine what happens next.

MITCHELL: Oh, my God. It's just like, it's crazy.

It's -- and I always knew that Amanda was a strong-willed person. And, eventually, I knew she would get out of there. I just knew it. But I just what it -- why not sooner? What happened? What was this man doing? It's crazy. And he's supposed to have a daughter and grandchildren?

What is that?


MITCHELL: Did they know what he was doing? I mean, how did they have them in there? I can't wait to talk to her. I can't wait to hold her and see her. My daughter is going nuts.

COOPER: Well, listen, I know it's a happy, great -- it's an amazing night for you. I don't want to keep you. You want to be with your family.

I appreciate talking to you. Thank you so much.

MITCHELL: Thank you.

COOPER: Yes, Gale, just our best wishes to you and your family, Gale Mitchell, who is Amanda Berry's aunt.

Obviously, a lot of questions remain. We were just talking to Rachel Dissell of "The Cleveland Plain Dealer."

We have got to take another short break. We're going to talk to John Ryan at the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, also John Walsh.

We will be right back.


COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of breaking news out of Cleveland. Three women missing for, in some cases, more than 10 years have been found alive, all in the same house.

A suspect is in custody, a man by the name of, local reports say, Ariel Castro, 52 years old, a bus driver who was known in that neighborhood. Neighbors say they never saw these three women. One of the women, Amanda Berry, who got out of the house, made a 9-1-1 call. I just want to replay that for you. You're going to hear some beeps when names or addresses are mentioned. Authorities have beeped those out, just so those aren't broadcast. But you get a real sense of the desperation in this woman's voice. Amanda Berry calling 911 a short time ago.


AMANDA BERRY, VICTIM (via phone): Help me, I'm Amanda Berry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you need police, fire or ambulance?

BERRY: I need police.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And what's going on there?

BERRY: I've been kidnapped, and I've been missing for ten years, and I'm here. I'm free now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Ma'am, what's your address?



Looks like you're phoning me (WORDS DELETED).

BERRY: I can't hear you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It looks like you've phoned me from (ADDRESS DELETED).

BERRY: I'm using their phone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, stay there with those neighbors. Talk to the police when they get there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Talk to the police when they get there.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, talk to the police when they get there.

BERRY: OK. Right now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to send them as soon as we get a car open.

BERRY: No, I need them now before he gets back. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. We're sending them. OK.

Who's the guy? Who's the guy who went out?

BERRY: His name is (NAME DELETED).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. How old is he?

BERRY: He's like 52.


BERRY: And I'm Amanda Berry. I've been on the news for the last ten years.


And you said -- what was his name again?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And is he White, black or Hispanic?

BERRY: He's Hispanic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's he wearing?

BERRY: I don't know, because he's not here right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When he left, what was he wearing?

BERRY: I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police are on the way, talk to them when they get there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I told you they're on the way, talk to them when they get there. OK.

BERRY: All right. OK.



COOPER: She said that she was aware she's been on the news for the past ten years. She also, I think -- I believe I heard her mention "with Georgina." That would be Georgina DeJesus, who was 14 when she went missing in 2004, on her way home from school.

On the phone is John Ryan, the CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

John, what do you make of this? Obviously, there's still a lot of questions to be answered. We have not heard from law enforcement. They said they're going to have a press conference this evening. Now it's been pushed to 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.

A lot of questions about the relationship between these three women, whether they were in the house this whole time, under what circumstances. What do you make of what you've heard so far?

JOHN RYAN, CEO, NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN (via phone): Well, Anderson, I've had the opportunity to listen to some of your guests talk. And I think the common theme has been they are ecstatic. And, you know, it's a night for celebration.

And, to us, at the National Center, this is not something that we find shocking anymore. The fact is we have seen more and more long- term missing cases end up in the victims being rescued many years after their original abduction.

John Walsh, earlier, mentioned the case of Jaycee Dugard, who was held captive for 18 years. We actually celebrated this past summer the longest recovery of a missing person. A young boy was taken at the age of 2 years of age and found, reunited with his mother, 41 years after he was abducted.


RYAN: So we see more and more of this. And Carlina White, who was a baby when she was abducted from the hospital, a Harlem hospital in New York, 23 years ago before she started to realize that something was wrong. That she wasn't who she was told she was by the people who were caring for her.

So, you know, we're seeing these other cases. And, you know, the good news is, the message is we never give up hope. We heard that from some of the family members. And that's the theme that we work with law enforcement and everyone at the National Center is committed to. Because we know that a case is not resolved until a child is actually found. And you know, we're seeing more and more of them being found as survivors, like the three women tonight in Cleveland.

COOPER: Amanda Berry who was just about to turn 17 when she was last seen, riding in a vehicle with an unidentified driver after leaving her part-time shift at Burger King, she said in that 9-1-1 call, John, that she's been in the news for the last ten years. Do you read anything into that? The fact that she seems at least aware that, John Ryan, that she seems aware that people were looking for her, that she had remained in the news?

RYAN: Well, you know, these children, who, when they're taken, they're subjected to -- you know, we don't know in this case, but typically, they are totally captivated by their abductors through different methods. It could be fear, intimidation, violence, maybe threatening not only to harm them but to harm their families. So they're totally subject to the control of the person who has abducted them.

So it doesn't mean that they're not aware or exposed to certain, you know, things within the, you know, small area that they're confined to. In this case, Amanda may have been exposed, allowed to watch TV. So she's watching the news of her own abduction over a period of time. Unfortunately, that's not unusual.

COOPER: And, again, we don't know the full circumstances of this.

Amanda's mother received a call from Amanda's cell phone about a week after she disappeared from a man claiming to have married Amanda and that -- saying that the mother would see Amanda again soon, then hung up the phone when the mother asked to speak to Amanda. Never heard back. The call was traced, but nothing ever came of it.

There have been reports that Georgina DeJesus, a member of her family believed she had been seen in a vehicle at a shopping center, after her disappearance. But again, that wasn't confirmed.

Rachel Dissell from the "Cleveland Plain Dealer" is also joining us. Rachel, there -- there was an article I saw in, I believe it was a local paper, by a man by the name of Ariel Castro, and the headline of it was "Gina DeJesus's Disappearance has Changed Her Neighborhood." And it's an article all about the disappearance of Gina DeJesus. I have it right here. He interviews even Regina's mother. Do you know if the author of this article, Ariel Castro, is the same Ariel Castro who's now been arrested and is a suspect in these three women's disappearances?

RACHEL DISSELL, "CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER" (voice-over): That's what neighbors and some of the family members said. They have pointed out that article.

What his uncle told me is that the families do know each other and have known each other for years. It's a very small neighborhood, a very tight-knit neighborhood on Cleveland's West Side that -- that has a lot of Hispanic population.

So he said that his family grew up with Georgina, Gina's family and did know them. That, you know, the uncle talked about donating money to fundraisers to find her, and he believes that the nephew likely was also involved in some of that.

And then later, one of the neighbors called me and told me that "Plain Press" article, that's like a neighborhood newspaper where anyone can submit articles.


DISSELL: So he probably, you know, wrote that and submitted it on his own. He wasn't really a reporter or anything like that. But it's -- it is very possible that he did know their family. Gina's uncle owned a pretty popular club for a while, where a lot of people go and listen to music and dance. And Ariel Castro played in a band that often played at that club, according to neighbors, family members.

COOPER: That's an extraordinary connection if, in fact, it turns out to be true, based on your talking to the uncle of Ariel Castro, the man, the 52-year-old man, bus driver, school-bus driver who's now in custody in the disappearance of these three women.

We're got to take another quick break. I'm going to talk to Amanda Berry's cousin. We'll also talk to John Walsh ahead. Want to find out how often it is that a suspect actually knows the family of somebody who he's been accused of having a part in their disappearance. We'll be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We love you, Amanda.



COOPER: Shouts, "We love you Amanda." There are cheers outside the hospital. The three women who were found are in good condition tonight.

On the phone is Dr. Gerald Maloney you just saw there. Dr. Maloney, obviously, there's a lot you can not say because of patient confidentiality. What can you tell about what you have witnessed tonight?

DR. GERALD MALONEY, PHYSICIAN (via phone): First off, we're in the process of evaluating their medical needs. And they all appear to be in perfect condition right now.

This is definitely a happy day. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and we care about their stories; there might have been tragic endings. We're just very happy that they're here and that we're able to take care of them right now.

COOPER: Can you tell us how many patients who are associated with this incident you have?

MALONEY: We have a total of four.

COOPER: A total of four. So there have been conflicting reports about whether there was more than one child. Can you say whether the four people you have are three adults and one child?

MALONEY: I can't really go into any more specific details of that.

COOPER: I got it. You have four people associated with this in the hospital tonight. Is there anything more you can say about their condition?

MALONEY: I can't go into anything further right now than to say that they're in fair condition. We're in the process of reuniting everybody with their families. We're just thrilled that they've been found alive.

COOPER: Well, again, I can't imagine what it's been like inside rooms, those families being reunited. Dr. Gerald Maloney, I appreciate that. Thank you very much.

So, again, four people, so it does seem to indicate that we're talking about three adults here, the three women who we've been talking about, and one can probably assume one child. There have been conflicting reports about whether there was more than one child.

But it does seem like, based on what the doctor just said, that they have four people. We can assume three adults and one child.

Julio Castro is the uncle of the suspect; joins us now on the phone. Mr. Castro, I appreciate you -- you joining us. What can you tell us about -- about your nephew, Ariel Castro?

JULIO CASTRO, UNCLE OF ARIEL CASTRO (voice-over): My nephew, we thought was a great man. He was a very manly -- he had a family. And he separated from his wife years ago. It was a decision (UNINTELLIGIBLE). He played with all the local groups.

COOPER: Did you ever visit him inside his home?

CASTRO: No, unfortunately, not. He would come up to my place.

COOPER: So when you would see him, when -- where would you see him?

CASTRO: He would come to my store, years ago. But then, he stopped coming. But I thought nothing of it. And was shocked when I heard the news.

COOPER: About what year did he stop coming to your store?

CASTRO: Oh, I don't know exactly. It's been six or seven years.

COOPER: Six or seven years, OK. So you're saying around 2006 or so, perhaps, maybe somewhere there around. To your knowledge, did he write an article -- or did he know the family -- did your family know the family of Regina DeJesus?

CASTRO: Of course.

COOPER: How did you know them?

CASTRO: Both of the parents grew up in the area with me. And my family.

COOPER: And I understand you helped contribute to a fund to try to help find her?


COOPER: To your knowledge, did your nephew also contribute to that fund? Or did your nephew, was he in touch with Regina's family over the years?


COOPER: Do you know if your nephew in 2006 wrote an article about Gina's disappearance? Because there's an article in a local paper by someone named Ariel Castro, which is your nephew's name, about the disappearance and how it's changed the neighborhood. And in this article, he actually interview Regina's mother. Do you know if he wrote this article?

CASTRO: No, no, I have no knowledge of him being able to write articles.

COOPER: OK. Again, we haven't been able to confirm whether it's him or whether it's just somebody that happens to have the same -- the same name.

CASTRO: Right.

COOPER: What do you -- what is the next step? I mean, do you plan to see your nephew? Does -- is your nephew -- are his parents alive?

CASTRO: I know his mother is alive. We're not too close together since the father passed in 2004.

COOPER: And if, in fact, your nephew has -- has had some involvement with these three women, what do you think?

CASTRO: I think it terrible. It's a bad situation for the family.

COOPER: Mr. Castro, I appreciate you speaking with us tonight. Thank you very much. The uncle of Ariel Castro, a man who's 52 years old, a school bus driver who is now in custody, a suspect somehow in the disappearance of these three women, all of whom have been found alive in a property that he lives in.

We're just talking to Julio Castro.

John Walsh is still with us. John, I was talking to Ed Smart earlier tonight. And he was saying that often, people who have gone missing are found within a five-mile radius of where they first went missing.

JOHN WALSH, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": Well, statistics show over the years, particularly in cases of murdered children like my son, they're either found within a five-mile radius or they're a long way away.

But I know you've been trying to address this question all night, about do the perpetrators know their victims? You know, 80 percent of the crimes committed against children are by some trusted authority figure. We've known that for years. That abduction, stranger abductions are very strange. I've actually done cases on "America's Most Wanted" where the murderer of the child and the kidnapper of the child was then part of the search party.

I mean, I think people think that these are trolls, that these are guys in trench coats that expose themselves, live under the bridge. No, no one has ever been able to describe what a kidnapper or a guy who would rape and hold someone as a sex slave looks like. They're hiding in plain sight. And I've been doing this for so many years. And it's very, very difficult to ever pick these guys out. And they're cunning and they're smart, and they know how to manipulate.

You and I talked years ago about a case in Missouri about a boy named Shawn Hornbeck; was kidnapped at 11 years old. And then, when he got older, Michael Devlin, who's been convicted of the case, then kidnapped a younger boy, Ben Ownby. And everybody questioned Shawn Hornbeck and said, "Why didn't you come forward? Why didn't you try to escape?" Well, he was manipulated by toys and by iPad -- you know, I mean, computers and all this type of stuff. And he says, "People forget that I was terrified to escape."

And you've only got to listen to Amanda on that 911 tape saying, "Help me, please, before he comes back." This is a cunning guy who was able to keep three adult women. Now they're adult women.


WALSH: And hide them in plain sight. But I don't know why anybody's surprised at that, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. And he was apprehended at a local McDonald's. That's where she said he had gone to.

We've got to take another quick break. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Three women who were missing for, in some cases, more than 10 years, found alive today. We thought this was a good time to put up the picture of another young woman. Her name was Ashley Summers. She disappeared in the same area in Cleveland. She disappeared in July 2007. She was 14 years old. It's believed that she left of her own accord, but she hasn't been seen or heard from since 2007. She was spotted with her hair cut shorter and dyed blonde in November of 2007, but she hasn't been seen since then.

Authorities are still looking for any information about her. The number to call for that is 216-623-5005. Again, we don't know if it has any connection with the disappearance of these three other women who have now been found, but we just thought this was a good time to point out that authorities are still looking for this young woman.

That does it for us. Thanks very much for watching. CNN'S live coverage of this incredible story continues all evening long. A special live edition of "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" is coming up after a short break.