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Three Women Missing For Years Found Alive

Aired May 7, 2013 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Chris Cuomo's special, "Amanda Knox: The Unanswered Questions," will start a half-hour from now at 10:30 Eastern.

First, we're live from Cleveland Ohio with many new developments here.

Three women who were missing for about a decade are finally free, you know that, after allegedly being held captive at a home across the street from where I'm standing. It's that white house with the lights still on, on the porch.

There is breaking news tonight on the condition of at least one of the women held for nearly a decade.

Also, a phone call Amanda Berry made today to her grandmother, you will hear that in a moment.

But before we get to that, here is the latest information that we have. Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, and a child believed to be Amanda Berry's were found alive here last night after Berry screamed for help through a crack in the front door and got the attention of neighbors who helped her escape. You're going to hear from one of those neighbors tonight.

Now, three suspects, former school bus driver Ariel Castro and his two brothers, were arrested and are in jail awaiting charges. They are set to be interviewed by investigators tomorrow. They have not been interviewed yet. Some neighbors say they're shocked by what happened. Others though are saying that they called police in recent years after hearing yelling at the house and, in one instance, seeing a naked woman in the backyard.

The FBI is searching the house, as I said, right now for evidence. The police chief says it will probably be a few more days until the investigation inside the house is complete. It is an incredibly emotional time, obviously, for the families and friends of these three women.

For the first time in 10 years, Amanda Berry was able to call her grandmother in Tennessee. I want to play you a little bit of that call from WJHL.




BERRY: Yes, grandma.


BERRY: I'm fine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm glad to have you back.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought you were gone.

BERRY: No, I'm here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we're happy down here for you.

BERRY: Thank you so much. I missed you and (INAUDIBLE) I love you guys so much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The little girl is your baby?

BERRY: Yes, she is my daughter, born on Christmas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have got to get together soon.

BERRY: I know it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a little girl named Christina (ph) and she wants to meet you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But I love you, honey. Thank God.

BERRY: I love you, too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have thought about you all this time. I never forgot you.


COOPER: Amanda Berry on the phone with her grandmother.

Poppy Harlow joins me now live with more new developments on the condition of Gina DeJesus.

Poppy, what have you learned? I know you talked to Gina's sister.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I did, Anderson. I had a chance tonight to talk to Mayra DeJesus. She's Gina's older sister. She's 9 years older than Gina. She was with her practically all night at the hospital last night, pretty much all day today. And she told me that, all things considered, Gina is doing very well. She said she is in -- quote -- "good spirits." That is very good news to hear from her older sister. Interestingly, she said that even though Gina is now a young woman, she's 23 years old, that she still seems and looks like the young girl that they remember her as, that 14-year-old girl before she disappeared.

I asked Mayra, did you talk with your sister or your family at the hospital about the ordeal, what Gina has gone through in the last nine years? She said they did not even talk about it. They are not focusing on that. They are focusing on having her sister back, the parents focusing on having the daughter that they have not seen for nine years, having her back.

So, right now, it is just about welcoming her back, not talking about what she went through, at least not yet.

COOPER: Members of her family, of Gina's family, actually knew the Castro family, didn't they?

HARLOW: They did. And that's something we're trying to learn much more about.

I spent a lot of time talking with Ricardo DeJesus, who is 10 years older than Gina, her older brother. And I asked him, did you know Ariel Castro? Because there are a lot of questions about that. She says, yes, I did know him a long time ago, when we were younger. We were acquaintances. We knew one another. They were not close friends, but he said that he has not talked to or seen Ariel Castro in the last 10 years, so the entire span of time that his sister has been missing, Anderson.

COOPER: Just incredible.

Poppy, appreciate the reporting.

Earlier, I spoke with WOIO reporter Dan DeRoos about what he's learned from their sources, from local sources here in law enforcement about the investigation.


DAN DEROOS, WOIO REPORTER: We're also hearing that for many of the first years that they were in the home, there were chains being used. One room in particular was found with chains hanging from the ceiling.

They were bound and gagged several times throughout the course of being held in that home. We're also hearing from a source that the man who was holding them there, Ariel Castro, would play this little dangerous game, that he would tell the women he was about to leave the home, and then he would wait, and if one of them tried to open that door, he would go in and attack them.

That was one of the ways he was able to keep them there. We are also hearing from pretty well-placed sources that numerous times throughout this 10-year period, that some of the women became pregnant and that they would be beaten, forcibly hit in the stomach to force a miscarriage, if you can imagine that, one of the reasons we're hearing that they have brought out cadaver dogs to be searching the backyard of that home.

COOPER: So, Dan, I just want to be clear. This is based on you and your team's reporting from law local law enforcement sources?

DEROOS: That's correct. We have several law enforcement sources that we're really well connected to, team Ed Gallek, Paul Orlousky.

Some of our reporters here have been in this community for years, very well connected and we're getting little pieces of information out from them. Obviously, the investigators are taking the interviews with these three women very slow, trying not to traumatize them any further than what they have already been through.

They have let them spend last night with their family, again today. We know they were released from the hospital this morning, but they have not yet gone to their homes in Cleveland. We have been watching. We're not sure where they are, possibly a hotel, maybe a hospital, maybe a psychological research type center, but at this point, no signs of them at their homes.


COOPER: We are told by local a law enforcement spokesperson that some interviews, more interviews were conducted today.

Now my exclusive interview with Charles Ramsey, one of the neighbors who noticed that Amanda Berry was screaming for help. His actions last night have a lot of people around here calling him a hero. I spoke with Charles Ramsey this evening.


COOPER: So you moved in about a year ago.


COOPER: You had seen Ariel Castro around, right?

RAMSEY: When I moved there, only because he was my neighbor.

COOPER: Right.

RAMSEY: You know what I mean?

COOPER: What was he like?

RAMSEY: Cool. He wasn't no freak of nature. He was like me and you, because he talked about the same things you talk about. He would talk about you, you know what I mean, regular stuff, bro.

COOPER: So, yesterday, what happened?

RAMSEY: I'm going to tell it all.

Around 3:00, I was on my porch. And the mailman put his mail in my mail. I'm looking at it, and was like I got to give Ariel his mail when he come home. A couple minutes later, he pulled up. He checked the mailbox, grabbed his paper. Before he went in the house, I said Ariel, here goes your mail.

We just had the same conversation when I hand him the mail. He said they can't get it right. I said, no, damn postal service. That's it. He left. I jumped on my bike, went to McDonald's, came back home. I'm in my house but I'm in the living room, and I'm right by the front door, because I'm looking out the front door.

And, man, this girl screamed like a car had hit a kid, which made me, you know, stop eating. What the hell was that? That -- so when I got up, I saw -- this my neighbor across the street, he run across the street and I'm like, well, where -- I'm thinking, well, where you going, because ain't nobody next door because I just saw Ariel leave. And I know ain't nobody over there.

Heard that girl scream and saw him run across the street, and I went outside and wondered what he was doing. And Amanda say, I'm stuck in here. Help get me out.

So he's either don't know English that well or panicked. He just looked at me and was like, it's a girl. And that's all he did. So here I come with my half-eaten Big Mac. And I looked and I say, well, what's up?

And she's like I have been trapped in here, and he won't let me out, me and my baby. I said, well, you ain't going to talk no more. Come on. I'm trying to get the door open, and can't, because he torture-chambered it some kind of way and locked it up. Right?

So, I did what I had to do and kicked the bottom of the door, and she crawled out of it. She grabs her baby, which threw me off. All right, so, fine. I got some girl and her kid.

COOPER: What did she look like? What was she wearing?

RAMSEY: Jumpsuit.

She had a white tank top on, rings on, mascara. She was well- groomed. She was just like -- she didn't look like she was kidnapped. That's what I'm saying. That's what threw me off, when she was like, I'm in here trapped. And I'm like, well, you don't look kidnapped so maybe you got a boyfriend problem.

But I'm thinking I know who lives here, and he's 50-something. You can't be the boyfriend problem. It can't be him. Maybe you're dating his son.

COOPER: And you had never seen her before in the year that you had been there?

RAMSEY: Bro, bro, man, listen, never. That woman didn't come out the house.

The only kids that came out the house were two little girls. They played in the backyard. He had two dogs. And where I live naturally is next door. My bedroom is upstairs. So when I just hear kids playing, I know it's them. They do the same thing, play in the backyard for a couple hours, go back in the house. Same thing every day.

The neighborhood knows them as his grandchildren, so it's no big deal. He has got his grandkids over all the time, I thought.

COOPER: Amanda Berry then, what, asked to call 911?

RAMSEY: Mm-hmm.

And I took her to my house. Now, I'm nervous as hell. So I'm fumbling with my phone. So I finally get it right. She can't wait. And I don't blame her. So, what I do is tell her go across the street and use their phone. Now, we're both calling 911. Now, she gets through and I get through. She deal with a moron. Me, too.

COOPER: You said there were -- what do you mean a moron?

RAMSEY: Idiot.

COOPER: I heard the 911 call for her and the women kept...


RAMSEY: Imbecile. Why do you have that damn job?

COOPER: The woman was like, oh, hang up and wait for the police.

RAMSEY: Really? How about stay on and I will -- talk to me until they get there?

COOPER: Right.


COOPER: Coming up, we will have more of my exclusive interview with Charles Ramsey.

He tells me what it feels like to have been living in the neighborhood for a year without knowing that women were being allegedly held captive inside that house. He also says he doesn't believe he should get the reward money, that it should go to the women. That's next.


COOPER: Well, if not for the actions of Charles Ramsey and another neighbor who helped, the three women may still be in that house here in Cleveland. Here's more of my exclusive interview with Charles Ramsey.


COOPER: So you call 911. How quickly did police get there?

RAMSEY: You know why they got there so fast? Because I said moron.

Because I said, hey, Amanda Berry is right in front of me right now. Yes, what she got on? And I told them, white tank top, blue sweatpants, nice tennis shoes, nice ponytail. What else? Oh, right. She is panicking, idiot. Put yourself in her shoes. I just said, Amanda Berry. That don't ring no damn bells, you being a cop and all?

COOPER: But you -- when you first saw her and she said the name Amanda Berry, did it...


RAMSEY: I didn't know, because I forgot. Bro, this is Cleveland.

Since they haven't found that girl, and I guess stopped looking for that girl, we figured that girl met her demise.

COOPER: Right.

RAMSEY: So Berry didn't register with me until I was on the phone, like, wait a minute, I thought this girl was dead.

COOPER: What does it feel like to have been living next to this for a year?

RAMSEY: See, that's why now I'm having trouble sleeping.

See, up until yesterday, the only thing that kept me from losing sleep was the lack of money. See what I'm saying? So, now that that's going on, and I could have done this last year, not this hero stuff, just do the right thing...

COOPER: Do you feel like a hero? Because a lot of people around here are saying...


RAMSEY: No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Bro, I'm a Christian, an American, and I'm just like you.

We bleed same blood, put our pants on the same way. It's just that you got to put that being a coward, and I don't want to get in nobody's business, you got to put that away for a minute.

COOPER: Because you know how it is. There's a lot of people that turn the other way and keep walking down the street.

RAMSEY: You have to have some cojones, bro. That's all it's about. It's about cojones on this planet.

COOPER: Has like the FBI said anything about a reward or anything? Because there was a reward for finding her.


RAMSEY: I will tell you what you do. Give it to them, because if folks been following this case since last night, and you been following me since last night, you know I got a job anyway. Just went and picked it up, paycheck. What that address say?


COOPER: I don't have my glasses. I'm blind as a bat.


RAMSEY: ... that sad? Twenty-two zero three Seymour. Where were them girls living? Right next door to this paycheck.

So, yes, take that reward and give it to that -- that little girl came out the house and she was crying. And I'm looking at her, right? I'm, well, your momma trying to help you, girl, shut up, because I don't know, right? And she's like, I want my daddy. And I said, who's her daddy? She said Ariel.

COOPER: She said that?

RAMSEY: Yes. I said, well, how's that possible? Because you wasn't -- if you got kidnapped, he was having sex with you? Oh, Jesus, that little girl is his? Now we want to hurt you.

COOPER: You felt that?

RAMSEY: Bro, this will be a different interview, I told you that, if we had known that. Man, I would be facing triple life.

COOPER: Wow. I'm glad it turned out this way.


COOPER: Charles Ramsey.

Charles Ramsey, who, with the help of another neighbor, helped Amanda get out of that house.

Up next, why didn't the 911 operator stay on the phone with -- with Amanda Berry when she called for help? We will try to get some answers from the Cleveland Police Department next.


COOPER: I want to be very clear. There's so much we still don't know has gone on inside that house over the last 10 years.

What little information there is has come from leaks from local law enforcement to local news organizations here in Cleveland, but it's still very early hours, early days in this investigation. We want to be very cautious about some of the information that's coming out.

Want to make sure that we get the full story. And that won't -- that will take many days, perhaps even weeks, if we ever fully understand what occurred there over the last 10 years.

We have heard the 911 call that Amanda Berry gave to the 911 operators. It's raised some questions. There's been criticism of the 911 operator. Here's part of that call.


911 OPERATOR: All right.

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

911 OPERATOR: OK. 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?

BERRY: OK. I need -- 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: The operator did not stay on the line with Amanda Berry until police arrived.

The Cleveland Police Department says the dispatcher's actions are under review. I spoke earlier to Detective Jennifer Ciaccia of the Cleveland Police Department.


COOPER: Appreciate you being with us, obviously, an incredibly busy day for you.

That 911 call, it has gotten some criticism because the operator didn't stay on the line. Is that something that's under review?

JENNIFER CIACCIA, CLEVELAND POLICE SPOKESWOMAN: That is something that the division is looking into at this time, but, really, the bottom line in that call, the call taker was able to get the information that was needed. A call was dispatched within 18 seconds, and then a zone car arrived on scene in under two minutes.

So, really, time wasn't a factor, and what needed to be done was done.

COOPER: The -- there's obviously a lot about the investigation you're not going to be able to talk about.


COOPER: So I'm not going to put you on the spot a lot. But is there anything you can tell us about just what you have seen today about how things are going over there?

CIACCIA: Well, currently, we have with us the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

They have their entire evidence response team for this area on scene. And they are responsible for all of the evidence-gathering and collection.

COOPER: So all the folks in the white -- the white suits, that's FBI?

CIACCIA: Correct.

The FBI actually has that entire scene. The Cleveland Division of Police is in full partnership with the FBI, so they have the entire house and the scene under their control at this time.

COOPER: And this may take several days to process everything...


CIACCIA: This is just the tip of the iceberg. This investigation will take a very long time.

COOPER: Are there other properties? Because earlier in the day, there had been some reports that one of the suspects, Ariel Castro, may have other properties. Have those been searched or is this the... CIACCIA: There is a possibility that other properties could be searched, but I don't have information that that's happened yet at this time.

COOPER: Right.

As you know, some local news has reported -- and we had one of their reporters on our show -- that some chains were found inside, that, according to their sources in law enforcement, there may have been multiple pregnancies that were terminated. Can you confirm any of that?

CIACCIA: I can't comment on any of those facts of the investigation, just that there is evidence inside that links back to some things that the girls said to (INAUDIBLE) investigators.

COOPER: Do you know, have there been more interviews with the young women today? Because in the press conference this morning, police were very careful to say that last night, their focus was on allowing the families to reunite and they want to take this slowly and methodically and that some experts are coming in. Do you know, have any interviews been undergone today?

CIACCIA: Yes, there were some interviews conducted with the young ladies today.

COOPER: And in terms of the way the system here works, it's within 36 hours of the arrest that charges have to be brought?

CIACCIA: Typically, our protocol with -- between the Cleveland Division of Police and Cleveland Municipal Court is that our detectives charge within 36 hours.

However, the federal mandate is that we charge within 48 hours. And the administrative judge, Judge Ronald Adrine, did extend for us to be able to have the entire charge period the full 48 hours in this case.

COOPER: So does that guarantee that charges would -- I'm not sure when exactly the clock starts ticking. Does that mean charges will be brought by tomorrow evening?


CIACCIA: Yes, from the time that they're booked, so, yes, by -- at least by some time tomorrow evening.


CIACCIA: ... something.

COOPER: And, do you know, have the suspects been interviewed? There was a report out from law enforcement that they are going to be interviewed tomorrow.

CIACCIA: Correct. COOPER: Do you know, have any interviews actually taken place?

CIACCIA: They are expecting to interview the suspects tomorrow.


COOPER: That was Detective Jennifer Ciaccia of the Cleveland Police Department.

Coming up, just a few minutes ago, Jaycee Dugard, who was kidnapped, held captive, as you know, for 18 years, made some very rare public remarks -- what she said about her journey to try to rebuild her life ahead. With


COOPER: Welcome back.

Tonight, Jaycee Dugard was honored by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She was kidnapped as a child, held captive for 18 years, finally being reunited with her family in 2009.

Here's what she said just moments ago at the Hope Awards in Washington.


JAYCEE DUGARD, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: I feel like I have come full circle. And we are all finally together celebrating the wonderful hope that you at NCMEC keep alive every day.

I am so thankful for the team of people that have supported me throughout these last few years. I am so grateful to all of you.

I can't say they have been easy. But anything in worth life -- in life worth doing is sometimes hard. Like speaking.


COOPER: Jaycee Dugard had created a foundation that helps families who've been traumatized by abduction.

That does it for this edition of 360 live from Cleveland, Ohio. AMANDA KNOX: THE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS with Chris Cuomo starts now.