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Authorities Investigate Alleged Cleveland Kidnappings

Aired May 9, 2013 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.

And we are live tonight with breaking news from Cleveland, where we are putting together a picture, a very disturbing picture, of who Ariel Castro is and the nightmare that he allegedly subjected his victims to. A prosecutor today put it like this. They say Castro ran a torture chamber in that house behind me and a private prison right here in the heart of the city.

Also tonight, the exclusive interview with one of Castro's daughters. Take a look at what she told CNN's Laurie Segall about her father's behavior.


ANGIE GREGG, DAUGHTER OF ARIEL CASTRO: About two months ago, he picked me up. We spent the afternoon together. I just had some service on my car.

And he showed me a picture that was in his cell phone randomly. And he said, look at this cute little girl. It was a face shot. And I said, she's cute. Who is that? You know.

And he said, this is my girlfriend's child. And I sad, dad, that girl looks like Emily. Emily is my younger sister. And he said, no, that's not my child. That's my girlfriend's child by somebody else. And I said, dad, that looks like Emily.

You know, he denied it again. I said, dad, look at the nose. That looks just like Emily. And he said -- he started getting vague. He said, well, it could be -- we have been together for a long time. I mean, I just don't know. And then the subject changed.


COOPER: We're going to have more of that exclusive interview with Castro's daughter later on in the program.

Castro was arraigned today on four counts of kidnapping, three counts of rape, accused of holding women captive in his home for about a decade, with one of those women giving birth to a child during that time.

A law enforcement source says that during interrogation, Castro confessed to some of his actions during the decade. The source though did not go into details about what exactly he confessed.

Now, tonight, in Cleveland, a candlelight vigil for Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. There could be more charges to come against their alleged captor, Ariel Castro. The prosecutor says he will seek murder charges related to a police report that says when at least one of the women got pregnant, Castro allegedly starved her for at least two weeks and then punched her in the stomach until she miscarried.

This allegedly happened multiple times. We will have more on Castro's arrangement -- arraignment in a moment.

I also spoke with his former in-laws, including the sister of his ex-wife, who says that Castro is to blame for her sister's death.

Meanwhile, the mother of one of the victims, Gina DeJesus, is speaking out in her first interview. On ABC, Nancy Ruiz spoke about Gina's first night home.


NANCY RUIZ, MOTHER OF GINA DEJESUS: The one thing she did say, she says, mom, I don't want to stay in a room. So I says you don't have to anymore. So that's part of the process, part of her healing and knowing that she now can do what she wants.

QUESTION: She said she doesn't want to stay in a room?



COOPER: Well, much has been made about the connections between the Castro family and Gina DeJesus' family. It's really fascinating, the connections. The two families knew each other, and Gina's mother would sometimes actually see Ariel Castro.

ABC's David Muir asked Nancy Ruiz about that.


QUESTION: You would see him and he would say, how are you doing?

RUIZ: Yes.

QUESTION: Like nothing was wrong.

RUIZ: Yes.

QUESTION: That's chilling.

RUIZ: It is.

QUESTION: All the while, he had your daughter.

RUIZ: Yes. Do you know how many times I have been through that street? I passed by that street. I was just -- it was two blocks- and-a-half away from there.


COOPER: Well, it's unbelievable.

Today, Castro's mother, Lillian Rodriguez, spoke briefly to reporters through the window of her car. She is clearly distraught. She apologized in Spanish. The writing will be on the screen. Take a look.


LILLIAN RODRIGUEZ, MOTHER OF ARIEL CASTRO (through translator): I will tell you, I have a sick son who has committed something very grave. I'm suffering very much. I ask forgiveness to these mothers. May those young -- I suffer because they suffered. I'm suffering over my son's pain. My son is sick and I have nothing to do with what my son did.


COOPER: Well, Castro's mother, that was her speaking with reporters today.

Now, there are other pieces of the puzzle that are just now coming to light, writings found inside that house behind him, pictures of the backyard and the word that Ariel Castro has confessed in ways to some actions.

Joining me now are CNN's Martin Savidge, Pamela Brown from CNN, as well as WOIO investigative reporter Scott Taylor.

Pamela, what have you heard about this alleged confession?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we have been hearing that Ariel Castro has been cooperating with authorities for the past couple of days.

COOPER: So, he's been talking to them?

BROWN: He's been talking with them, yes.

He's been cooperating, giving detailed statements to local police, federal authorities and prosecutors. And now we're learning from sources that he has actually confessed to at least some of his actions related to his behavior toward the women inside that house behind us over the past decade. The source is reluctant to give details about what he's confessed to.

Obviously, this is still very sensitive with this investigation ongoing. But we know that he faces four counts of kidnapping, three counts of rape. There seems to be mounting evidence against him.

COOPER: But confession is a very loaded word, but the source actually used that word, saying what -- his statements could be described as a confession? (CROSSTALK)

BROWN: Yes, saying it's not inaccurate to say he's been confessing to authorities.

COOPER: Interesting.

And, Martin, you have exclusive pictures from the backyard of Castro's home.


Yes. These were photos that were taken obtained by CNN. They were taken by a neighbor and they were some at night, some during the day. They focus on the times when the FBI was in the backyard. And it's kind of an interesting insight, because, first of all, you can see what the FBI is up to. And you can get a sense of what they're looking for.

In one picture, there is a hole in the ground. It's nighttime, but you can see underneath the blocking sort of curtain they put up that there is a hole and there are FBI agents working. Now, why would they do that?

We already know that there have been reports there could be human remains, so they would be digging for that or for maybe some other evidence that we aren't quite aware of. Remember, the FBI is methodically building a case here. And they're doing it over a decade. So, these photographs just give you a peek into this backyard, but what you realize is how isolated it really is. You would think it's in a crowded neighborhood, but his backyard was unique. It was shielded, and in many areas it was really just isolated.

COOPER: And, Scott, as far as we know, they have not found any human remains in that backyard or anywhere else in the house?

SCOTT TAYLOR, WOIO REPORTER: No, they haven't. And over the two days, a day-and-a-half, they actually went the abandoned buildings on the side, brought in the cadaver dogs, brought in the evidence bags. We saw them take out of a couple of evidence bags, but, no, so far they haven't found anything. At least that's what they're saying publicly.

COOPER: You and your team from WOIO, what else have you heard from sources?

TAYLOR: Well, we can talk about that letter that was inside the house that investigators, at least what my sources say, they say that it's a letter that was written in 2004. If you want to believe what is out there right now, that Ariel Castro wrote this letter.

We have talked about confessions. You have talked about confessions. If you take a look at this letter and read the details, he talks about, really, confessing. He says he's a sexual predator. He details exactly how he picks up each one of these women. He says that he's sick, that he needs help, that -- he even talked about -- and you have talked about this a little bit, about a suicide note.

Is it a suicide note or a confession? In this note, he talks about killing himself. And then he talks about taking all this money that he's saved and actually giving them to my victims. He specifically says my victims.

COOPER: Is this coming from multiple sources, from one source?

TAYLOR: Coming from multiple sources.

We have several reporters who have talked to their sources that this letter does exist. I have talked to several sources and I have one source that has detailed that letter out and it's multiple pages.

BROWN: And I just want to jump in here quickly. According to my sources as well, we're hearing that he also justified his actions in this multiple-page document, we're hearing that is lengthy.

COOPER: How did he justify it?

BROWN: Saying that -- we have talked about this earlier, that he was -- he said he was abused by a family member. And he talked about that in connection to justifying his behavior toward these women inside that home.

And according to sources, this was a detailed account of his actions and the reasons behind his actions, and only a part of this was talking about suicide.

SAVIDGE: And it looks into his mind at a particular time.

It's 2004. The women are recent captives. There have been some suggestions by authorities, why 2004? It was also a year that he got in trouble, because, as a school bus driver, he was alleged to have left a child behind in his bus. They think that might have triggered these kind of thoughts. But the justification he gives, no one is going to accept.

COOPER: Right.

TAYLOR: He also talks about these women in this letter as almost possessions.

After he allegedly picked up Gina, only 14 years old, surprised that she was so young, didn't have an idea that she was so young. And he also talked about having some remorse, apologetic to everybody that he hurt.

COOPER: But he saw, allegedly saw his daughter with Gina walking home from school. She was the last one to apparently see her before she disappeared. So he must have known that she was a friend of his own daughter.

TAYLOR: He very well might have known that.

Now, I have been told, back in 2004, witnesses were telling the police, the FBI that they saw someone talking to Gina in a vehicle. It appeared that Gina knew who this person was, got in the vehicle and took off.

In this letter, basically, that's what he says, that he picked up Amanda and he picked up Gina in the vehicle.

COOPER: We're going to talk to two people. Our Gary Tuchman is going to talk to two people who say they actually witnessed the vehicle and Ariel Castro picking up Gina DeJesus back then. They say police didn't really believe their story back then. They're telling their story tonight. That will be coming up.

Scott Taylor, appreciate it. Pamela Brown, Martin Savidge, appreciate all of your hard work today.

A judge today ordered that Castro be held on $8 million bond, $2 million for each of the three women and another $2 million for the child born while Amanda Berry in captivity.

Now, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin joins me now live.

Sunny, I mean, $8 million bail, it's certainly a lot. He would have to raise in order to get out on bail 10 percent of that, $800,000. Clearly, if his house is in foreclosure, he would have a hard time doing that. But it's possible he couldn't have gotten any bail, right?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, this is a bond. He's being held on bondable offenses, kidnapping and rape. And so while it's possible that he couldn't have gotten any bond, he did get bond.

But it's $8 million, Anderson. As you mentioned, he's got to put up at least 10 percent of that and then a surety for the remainder, so $8 million in total. It's very unlikely, unlikely that he would be able to post bond. And I think we really do need to remember that these are holding counts. That's what we kind of call them in the law.

Many, many more charges will be coming up when there's an indictment in this case. We're talking about three women, 10 years of crimes. And so $8 million, I know a lot of people are concerned about this. How could he possibly get bond? Really, there is very, very -- my sense, Anderson, is that he would never get out on bond in a case like this.

COOPER: The prosecutor is talking about seeking murder charges, even the death penalty. I know you have been looking into Ohio law. Is the prosecutor on solid legal ground here?

HOSTIN: He really is.

And I did look into it. And, apparently, Ohio law does provide for aggravated murder if someone forces someone or rather forces the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy. We know -- at least it's been reported that Michelle Knight was pregnant at least five times and that Ariel Castro starved her and then punched her in the stomach resulting in the termination of those pregnancies.

And so if you look at Ohio law, it's very possible that this prosecutor could pursue aggravated murder charges. And there is a death penalty in Ohio. So, I do believe that if they could prove it, if they think they can prove it, they're on pretty solid legal ground in Ohio.

COOPER: Does there have to be physical evidence of a terminated pregnancy or of a miscarriage? Because as we were talking about it, apparently, according to all sources, they have not found any remains, human remains inside the house or outside the house thus far.

Without medical proof that one of the women was pregnant and miscarried, could they still charge that?

HOSTIN: They could still charge it.

And, of course, we're sort of living, Anderson, in this post- "CSI" type of society. And a lot of jurors certainly want to see that medical evidence, that expert evidence.

But when I was a prosecutor, I preferred that eyewitness testimony, because if you have someone like Michelle Knight or Amanda Berry or Gina DeJesus on the witness stand talking about the horrors that they experienced and if the jury believes that Michelle Knight, in fact, went through this type of terror, and having five pregnancies terminated by Ariel Castro's brutality, I don't know that a juror would let him off or a jury would let him off just because there's an absence of medical testimony.

COOPER: Right.

HOSTIN: So, yes, it's preferable to have the medical testimony, it's preferable to have the human remains. But I think you can prove it without it. You have got these three women that could testify to the brutality that they experienced.

COOPER: It's incredible. Sunny Hostin, I appreciate your expertise. Thank you very much.

You can follow me on Twitter tonight @AndersonCooper. Let me know what you think about this case so far.

Just ahead, CNN's exclusive interview with one of Ariel Castro's daughters. You heard some of it at the top of the program. She says the accusations against her father explain some things that did strike her as strange in the past.


GREGG: Everything is making sense now. It's all adding up.

And I'm just -- I'm disgusted. I'm horrified.



COOPER: Welcome back.

We have been talking about connections between the Castro family and the DeJesus family. We know the last person to see Gina DeJesus before she vanished in 2004 was her best friend, Arlene Castro, a daughter of Ariel Castro. Now, DeJesus was just 14 when Mr. Castro allegedly lured her into his car.

After school that day, Gina Arlene to come to her house for a sleepover. And in an interview on "America's Most Wanted" back in 2005, Arlen described what happened next.


ARLENE CASTRO, DAUGHTER OF ARIEL CASTRO: I decided to call my mom and ask her. And so she gave me 50 cents to call my mom. And so my mom said, no, that I can't go over her house. And, so, I told her I couldn't. And she said, well, OK. I will talk to you later. And she just walked.


COOPER: Well, that's the last time she saw Gina.

Now, over the last nine years, Arlene went to vigils and never forgot her best friend. Now she's faced the horrifying fact that Gina's accused kidnapper is her very own father.

Here's what Arlene Castro said today on "Good Morning America."


CASTRO: I'm really disappointed, embarrassed, just mainly devastated about this whole situation.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: When was the last time you spoke to your father?

CASTRO: It was late last month. I had no idea. We -- me and my father were never really that close. Every time we would talk, it would just be short conversations and just a hello, how are you doing, and let me know if you need anything. And that was it every time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And did you ever meet the little girl Jocelyn?

CASTRO: No, I have never met her before.

STEPHANOPOULOS: In terms of violence in the home, did you ever witness that?

CASTRO: Oh, no, never, never.

I would like to say, I'm absolutely so, so sorry. I really want to see you, Gina. And I want you to meet my kids. I'm so sorry for everything. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, that was one of Ariel Castro's daughters who is friends with Gina DeJesus.

Now, we heard from one of her -- other daughters earlier this evening, Angie Gregg, who said she in fact did she the 6-year-old and kind of actually confronted her dad, saying that looks a lot like my other sister.

CNN's Laurie Segall got an interview with her, talked with her today.

And Laurie joins me now with this interview with Angie Gregg.

I can't imagine what this is like for this young woman. All of a sudden, she realizes, if the accusations are true, what her father has done.

SEGALL: Anderson, she said it. This was a nightmare. She woke up and this is a nightmare for everyone.

And she was very close with him. And she gave us a lot of those details. But she also said she's now beginning to piece together a puzzle of what could have -- what could have been signs. She talks a lot about that home and how she was there. And she says she definitely saw some signs looking back.

Listen to what she had to say.


GREGG: All of these weird things that I have noticed over -- you know, over the years, like about how he kept his house locked down so tight, certain areas, and, you know, how if we'd be out at my grandma's having dinner, he would disappear, you know, for an hour or so, and then come back.

And there would be no explanation where he went. Like, it's -- everything is making sense now. It's all adding up. And I'm just -- I'm disgusted. I'm horrified.

SEGALL: Did you ever try to get into that basement?

GREGG: Not since I was -- when I was very young, when my mom was still living there, I did pick the locks on the basement, because there was a cheap master lock on the door, picked the lock and we went snooping.

And I remember there being a fish tank down there, which is odd because there was nobody down there to look at the fish.

SEGALL: Did you ever see any signs of a 6-year-old there?

GREGG: I never saw signs in the house. I never saw her with him. But, about two months ago, he picked me up. We spent the afternoon together. I just had some service on my car.

And he showed me a picture that was in his cell phone randomly. And he said, look at this cute little girl. It was a face shot. And I said, she's cute. Who is that? You know.

And he said, this is my girlfriend's child. And I sad, dad, that girl looks like Emily. Emily is my younger sister. And he said, no, that's not my child. That's my girlfriend's child by somebody else.

SEGALL: Your family is attached to this stigma. What is the message that you want to tell people that they might not understand?

GREGG: That my father's actions are not a reflection of everyone in the family. They're definitely not a reflection of myself or my children. We don't have monster in our blood.

SEGALL: Never want to talk to your dad again?


I have no problem cutting him out of my life. I have no problem doing that. I never want to see him again.

And another thing that I would like to ask him is, when did he think this was going to be over? How did he think it was going to end? You're 52 years old. Did you think that you can carry this charade forever? What did he think that was going to happen?

And, eventually, you would have been caught. And then what of these girls? What of your family? You didn't care.

SEGALL: What message do you have for these girls? They're safe now. They're no longer there, but they were held captive and their whole lives were turned upside down. And what message do you have for these women and their families?

GREGG: I feel so much -- so much sorrow that you had to endure this. I'm glad that you're back home with your family finally, because they never stopped thinking about you. They never stopped -- they never forgot you. They always thought you were alive when everybody else thought you were gone.

I also -- you know, I also feel sorrow that -- Michelle's case, because I'm just now hearing about her, too, that her case was treated differently because she was an adult when she came up missing. Like, that's -- it's real tragic because she was taken against her will as well.

And it's -- it's sickening. It's sickening, because that could have -- you know, that could have been -- that could be anybody in that position. In a blink of an eye, you can be abducted, brutalized and nobody would ever know it. You could be right around the corner and nobody would ever know it. This just goes to show.

SEGALL: Do you want to see them at all? Would you like to see them at any point?

GREGG: I would love to see them. I would love to see the little girl, Jocelyn. But I don't want to pressure her at all. And that's -- maybe further down the road, maybe it will be a possibility. I would really love that. But, right now, these girls need to heal.


COOPER: I misspoke earlier. I said that she had met the little 6-year-old girl. She just pointed out that she saw a picture of her on the cell phone. Still startling that she said, it looks like our other sister.

She says, unlike the other sister, she says that she was close to her father.

SEGALL: Yes, she was there a couple months ago even.

She describes growing up. And her mother actually left the home and she stayed for an extra year. And she really said she was there for her father. Right when I was leaving, she showed me some pictures of her and her father. And there were these pictures of her as a young child and him just embracing her. And you could tell she didn't really -- she was sitting there and she was just getting very quiet. And you could tell this is really tough for her.

COOPER: You said she was there two months ago. Was she actually inside the house two months ago?

SEGALL: Yes, she was inside the home. She said that they cooked. He listened to music.

COOPER: And yet she wasn't able to walk around the house? I mean...


And she says, these pieces, now they're making sense.

COOPER: Right.

SEGALL: She once asked to go upstairs. And he said, no, you can't get up there.

She wants us to go downstairs. He said no. And now she's just putting together those pieces. And for this woman, she's now really wrapping her head around this. She showed me a picture of her boy. She's got boys and they were on a motorcycle with Ariel. And she said -- and she was just looking at this picture and she said, the neighbors used to trust him to take around their children.

COOPER: Incredible.

SEGALL: And so for her, this is going to be a process too, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Fascinating interview. Laurie, thank you. Appreciate that.

Earlier, I talked to Ariel Castro's former sister-in-law, Alita Caraballo (ph), and her daughter Marie (ph). Now, Alita's sister who died last year was Castro's former common-law wife. So, Alita and Marie say she was physically abused for years by Castro before she left him. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had pushed her down a flight of steps, broke her skull from the front of her head to the back of her head. He is the cause of my sister's death.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She just stops and hold her head. She is like, Maria, I'm in so much pain. And he did this to her, and I just couldn't do nothing (INAUDIBLE) you know?


COOPER: She died in 2012 of a brain tumor.

Up next, it's as if in some way Ariel Castro went out of his way to mock the family of Gina DeJesus. Wait until you hear what our Randi Kaye has uncovered about his relationship, ongoing relationship with the family of the woman he's accused of kidnapping. We will be right back.


COOPER: Welcome back.

As we noted earlier, Ariel Castro has some ties to at least one of the women that he allegedly abducted and repeatedly raped. His daughter Arlene was best friends with Gina DeJesus and the last person to see her before she vanished.

Now, Gina was just 14 when he allegedly locked her inside the house, the house behind me.

But police say while all of this was going on, we discovered that Castro himself didn't hide away. On the contrary, he actually made a point of inserting himself in the DeJesus family, into their grief. Here's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Of all of the people comforting Gina DeJesus's mother at a vigil last year marking the anniversary of her daughter's disappearance, one man now stands out. Ariel Castro. Not only did he comfort her mother while her daughter remained locked away in his home, but he played music and performed at the family's fundraisers.

Forensic psychologist Kris Mohandie has not examined Castro but says it's typical behavior. KRIS MOHANDIE, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: Make no mistake. This is a man who potentially was a master manipulator of people's perceptions of him. And the idea that he put on these different masks, even to his own family, is not unexpected.

KAYE: Given what we know now -- that police believe Castro held Gina DeJesus captive in his home for more than nine years, along with Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight -- the very thought of him offering comfort is downright sickening for family members.

MOHANDIE: It enables them to blend in and avoid suspicion being cast upon them.

Second, they can develop information about where the investigation is headed by pumping the family for information.

And third, and maybe sometimes most importantly, it provides them with pleasure. They are there. They are fooling the family. They're seeing the pain that the family might be going through. And if this is a sadistic offender, that pain is going to be very gratifying.

KAYE: In fact, in the days and weeks following Gina's disappearance, Ariel Castro helped search for her. He held flyers with her photo and attended rallies. This community activist spoke with ABC News about it.

KHALID SAMAD, CLEVELAND COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: He came up, grabbed some fliers, hugged Gina's father. So he was definitely very, very, very sophisticated in deceit (ph).

KAYE (on camera): And, yet, there's another strange twist. Gina DeJesus and Ariel Castro's daughter, Arlene, were best friends. In fact, Arlene was the last person to see her. Gina had given Arlene 50 cents to make a phone call, so Gina didn't have money for the bus. Gina had to walk home instead. And that's when she was taken.

(voice-over): Through tears, Arlene apologized to Gina on "ABC Good Morning America."

ARLENE CASTRO, DAUGHTER OF ARIEL CASTRO: I am so, so sorry. I really want to see you, Gina. And I want you to meet my kids. I'm so sorry for everything.

KAYE: And another of Ariel Castro's children is also connected. His son, Anthony, wrote this article for "The Plain Press" back in 2004, titled "Gina DeJesus's Disappearance Has Changed Her Neighborhood." In it, he interviews Gina's mother, who tells him now "People are watching out for each other's kids. It's a shame that a tragedy had to happen to really know my neighbors."

Little did she know one neighbor had taken her daughter and had no plans to give her back.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: So disturbing. Gina spent her second full day reuniting with her family today. I spoke to her aunt, Sandra Ruiz, and her cousin, Sylvia Colon, earlier tonight.


COOPER: First of all, I don't want to ask anything that invades on her privacy. So just use your judgment on what you're going to say, but how is she doing?

SANDRA RUIZ, GINA DEJESUS'S AUNT: She's in great spirits, you know. Finally, some people listen. And she spent an hour and a half outside and I've never seen her -- I mean, it's just exciting.

COOPER: An hour and a half, like, in the backyard?

RUIZ: In the backyard. And so...

COOPER: In the sun?

RUIZ: Yes, until people -- until the helicopter showed up and ruined it. But she -- she's doing good.

COOPER: That must be so incredible for her to have been outside. I mean, from all we've heard, she was rarely, if ever, outside.

SYLVIA COLON, GINA DEJESUS'S COUSIN: She's very, very happy to be outside. But, unfortunately, it was short-lived.

COOPER: What? Some news helicopters or something?


COOPER: It's terrible.

What -- I mean, how is the family doing? I mean, to have -- to have her back?

RUIZ: Words cannot express -- cannot express -- the joy that we have.

COOPER: Did you think this day would come? I mean, so many family members I've talked to have said that they held onto hope.

RUIZ: Oh, yes.

COOPER: But there's got to be some days where it's hard to hold onto that.

RUIZ: You know, some days you give up. But thank God we have the strength, and we have the Lord on our side.

COLON: And their mother never did give up.


COLON: Nancy, every single day, was the warrior.

RUIZ: She made everyone else...

COLON: And made everybody else believe Gina was coming home. And she was right.

COOPER: Yes. And I know when Shawn Hornbeck was found, a young man who was held captive for 4 1/2 years, they were interviewed saying that it gave them hope to kind of keep moving forward.

RUIZ: Yes, you got that. It did. It did.

COOPER: What was that moment like? We saw Gina coming home yesterday. I saw you in the video, as well. Just to see her stepping through that door?

RUIZ: It was a miracle. I mean, I just can't explain it. I can't explain it. It's hard to believe. You know, it's still kind of surreal. But every day, it's -- we're, like, yes. God heard us and she's here.

COOPER: And your faith, too, is what kept you going?

RUIZ: Yes.

COOPER: I've talked to a lot of people who've had this experience with their loved ones coming back. And all of them have said to me it's important not to pressure the person to talk, to just let them in their own time. Is that -- is that what you guys are doing?

RUIZ: That's -- that's why we want -- we want space.


RUIZ: We want her to acclimate with, you know, being able to sit outside and enjoy the wind and hear the birds. But people don't understand that. Shame on them.


RUIZ: I hope it never happens to them. Never.

COLON: And we just -- sorry. We just want her to be with her family.


COLON: And get to know us again, as well. And it's really difficult when people don't listen.

COOPER: Yes. Well, I mean, she has a right to her privacy. And if she never wants to talk about what happens publicly, that's fine, too. It's all about what she wants.

RUIZ: Exactly. You hit it right on the nail. It's her decision. Not yours, not mine, not mom's, not dad's. It's got to be her decision.

COOPER: Especially after being in a situation where she hasn't been able to exercise her own decision-making for all this time. That's even more important, that she's the one making the decision.

COLON: And, again, feeling the -- it comes down to freedom. And I think she came out of one prison and, to some degree, she's in another prison. It feels like that. It really feels like that.

COOPER: Well, I hope you're given the space and the time. Sandra and Sylvia, thank you so much. And my best wishes to your family.

RUIZ: We want to thank you, because you have been awesome. And I want you guys to understand that.

COOPER: Thank you.

RUIZ: You're patient, and we love that. And I wish more people can follow in your steps.

COOPER: I appreciate it. Thank you very much.

COLON: Thank you very much. We appreciate this.

COOPER: Thanks for coming on.

COLON: Thank you.

COOPER: Up next, a lot of questions still swirling. Did police miss opportunities to check Castro's home over the years and rescue the women earlier? They flatly say no, that's not the case. But two brothers make a starting claim about the day that Gina DeJesus vanished. We'll talk about that ahead.


COOPER: One persistent question in this neighborhood this week: did police miss opportunities to discover and maybe free the women from captivity earlier? Some neighbors insist that calls were made to police over the years about suspicious incidents, such as a naked woman seen in Ariel Castro's backyard.

Cleveland Police, however, insist that's not the case, that an initial review of police databases fails to show that any reports were made from anyone living near the Seymour Avenue house. They say, however, that examination of the databases is ongoing.

Now, Gary Tuchman found two men making a really startling claim. I want you to hear about it. It's a claim about the night that Gina DeJesus went missing in 2004. Here's his report.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): (AUDIO GAP) ... could have helped Cleveland police end this kidnapping nightmare nine years ago.

ERIC POINDEXTER, SAYS HE CALLED TIP IN TO POLICE: My brother and I was out on the street on the day that Gina DeJesus was abducted.

TUCHMAN: The street is West 105th, only a couple of blocks away from the school Gina was walking home from the day she was kidnapped. Eric and his brother were driving when a car came up on their left in the turning lane.

(on camera): Then you saw a girl walking down the sidewalk on that side of the street?

POINDEXTER: Yes, right over there right by the corner. Right there by that brick building.

TUCHMAN: And what did you see this driver do after that?

POINDEXTER: Once we crossed Fidelity here, this intersection, he swerved in front of us, almost hitting us, to get into where the parking lane is. And as soon as we passed him up, he did a U-turn, didn't care if anybody was coming the other way or nothing. Hit a U- turn right in front of the -- right in front of where the little girl was walking.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): In this week's police report about the case, the police revealed that Gina has confirmed she was kidnapped at West 105th Street.

(on camera): After Eric and his brother saw the car make a U- turn and head towards the girl, they also made a U-turn, angry that they almost got hit by the driver and also concerned about the girl. But when they got to the spot where they had seen the girl, they no longer did. She was gone.

(voice-over): It wasn't belong before reports surfaced about a missing girl named Gina DeJesus. So Eric and his brother say they immediately called the police to tell them what they saw.

POINDEXTER: She was wearing tight, black pants and a puffy gray jacket.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Now what was the description of Gina DeJesus after she went missing?

POINDEXTER: She was a little girl, Puerto Rican girl with long, curly black hair, wearing black pants -- tight black pants and a gray, puffy jacket.

TUCHMAN: Same exact description?

POINDEXTER: Same exact description.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Eric says the authorities didn't ever seem to think their information was credible.

POINDEXTER: It seemed like they were looking at us like we were just looking for attention or something like that.

TUCHMAN (on camera): The police?

POINDEXTER: Yes, they didn't seem to give any real true desire to the case, you know what I'm saying? With what we was telling them. They thought it was just we were blowing smoke up their butts or something.

TUCHMAN: Why do you think that is?

POINDEXTER: I have no clue.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): After the arrest of Ariel Castro, Eric and his brother say that is the face they saw behind the wheel that day.

But theirs isn't the only story that, if acted upon, could have ended the terror allegedly brought by Ariel Castro.

In 2004, Castro, who was a school bus driver, had allegedly kidnapped two girls and was about to kidnap Gina DeJesus. He left a child on the bus as he headed into the bus depot. I asked police why Castro wasn't more aggressively questioned about the incident.

DEPUTY CHIEF ED TOMBA, CLEVELAND POLICE: He was interviewed extensively relative to this complaint that we had. He was not a suspect in any other complaint. This was a -- he was a bus driver who, inadvertently, so he says, left the kid on a bus, went in for a lunch break, came back and then found the young man.

TUCHMAN: Castro was never prosecuted for that incident.

A year later, Castro was accused in court documents of repeated abuse and domestic violence against his common-law wife, Grimilda Figueroa. He was accused of everything from breaking her nose twice to dislocating her shoulders. But the case was ultimately dismissed because of numerous delays caused by Castro not showing up and attorneys for both sides not showing up.

Police strongly defend their work in this case and say they have no records of any recent calls pertaining to Ariel Castro. They also tell us they have not been able to confirm that they have records of talking to Eric Poindexter and his brother after the kidnapping happened.

POINDEXTER: I now believe 100 percent of my heart that he was there to abduct that little girl, and I believe that little girl was Gina DeJesus.


COOPER: It's amazing. It's just incredible. What do you think of them? I mean, you spent time with them.

TUCHMAN: Yes. These brothers were absolutely -- they have no motivation to lie. They're not seeking any publicity. Could it have been this amazing coincidence that, on the day Gina disappeared, they saw a girl who looked like Gina and a guy who looked like the suspect turn the car around to try to get to Gina? It's possible it was a coincidence.

But what's haunting is that they saw the license plate. They reported the license plate to police. And they and we have no idea if the police ever looked into that.

COOPER: Wow, that's -- it's just incredible. Gary, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

We'll have more from Cleveland ahead. We'll be right back.


COOPER: We'll have more from Cleveland here ahead. But, first, some other news.

Today, the Obama administration promised an additional hundred million dollars in aid to help Jordan deal with the influx of Syrian refugees. More than 500,000 Syrians have sought safety in Jordan, running from a long civil war that has killed more than 70,000 people there.

THREE-SIXTY obviously has closely followed the civil war since it began over two years ago. We've chronicled the horrors the Syrian people have endured at the hands of the Bashar al-Assad regime. And many Syrians have called this at their own peril to make sure the world knows what's happening.

Zaidoun al-Zoabi is one of those people. He's called us many times. You probably know him if you watch this show; you've heard his voice. His family reports he was arrested two weeks ago near his Damascus home. They have no information about him.

Now, we want to point out, Zaidoun was also arrested back in December. After his release, I spoke to him about his conditions of his detention back then. Listen.


ZAIDOUN AL-ZOABI, SYRIAN ACTIVIST (via phone): It is a fact before madness and death.

COOPER: A fact before madness and death?

AL-ZOABI: And death, yes. I have heard many horror stories. I could not imagine what happens inside. It is not the physical torture. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the torture of souls.

COOPER: We've talked often over the last more than a year. And -- and you insisted on using your name. Do you -- was there ever a moment -- did you ever regret that?

AL-ZOABI: Never, Anderson. Not for a single second. Never. I feel more responsible now. We all talk about the markers, about the people who are killed every day. But no one is talking about these -- those people who are inside these detention centers. These horror places. We should all unite. I think not only for people in Syria. Now I understand more. Now I'm more committed to people from other where. And I'm feeling committed to any kid who is oppressed in the world .

There is the power of life in face of death, peace in face of war. We should all come together and fight dictatorship.

COOPER: You know, what I find heroic about you and about others who speak out is not that you do not have fear, but it's that you experience fear just like everybody else, but that doesn't stop you from continuing to speak out. And, even now, you are speaking out.

Do you worry you could be arrested again?

AL-ZOABI: Yes, of course I am. The story has not ended.


COOPER: No, the story has not ended. The nightmare has not ended. As I said, his family says he was arrested two weeks ago. They've had no information about his detention. We will keep you updated with any news we get.

There is a lot more happening tonight. Isha is here with a "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, HLN ANCHOR: Anderson, the Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, has finally been entombed. However, the location is unknown. An employee of the Worcester, Massachusetts, funeral home that handled the body will only say that it was interred outside of Massachusetts.

Jodi Arias is under watch in a psychiatric ward tonight, according to her mother. The sentencing phase of Arias's trial has been postponed until Wednesday. Wednesday she was found guilty of first-degree murder. Jurors will now decide a sentence for Arias which could include the death penalty.

Sandy Arias left jail tonight, saying she was not allowed to see her daughter.

The U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, New York, says a cyber ring has stolen $45 million from banks around the world has been broken. She said thieves used prepaid debit cards at bank ATMs and then hacked into the banks' systems to increase the amount of cash they could withdraw.

And Britain's Prince Harry paid a visit to first lady Michelle Obama at the White House today. It's the first leg of his week-long tour of the United States -- Anderson.

COOPER: Isha, thanks so much. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: It's been an incredibly emotional week in Cleveland. For four days now, three families have begun processing the reality of what they've been hoping for for so many years, the reality that their missing loved ones are alive.

We wish Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight and their families strength and peace in the difficult days to come. And we leave you this hour with some of the sights and sounds from here in Cleveland since the word first came in that the women were out of that house.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and a third woman have been found alive, and they're doing well.

CHARLES RAMSEY, NEIGHBOR: Heard her screaming. I'm eating my McDonald's. I come outside. I see this girl going nuts.

BERRY: Help me, I'm Amanda Berry! I've been kidnapped and I've been missing for ten years and I'm here. I'm free now!

RAMSEY: So I did what I had to do and kicked the bottom of the door, and she crawled out of it. She grabbed her baby. It threw me off, but all right, fine, I got some girl and her kid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Georgina DeJesus might be in this house also. We found them. We found them. She's got a young child with her.

We also have a Michelle Knight in the house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to say we are so happy to have Amanda and her daughter home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are not enough words to say or express the joy that we feel for the return of our family member, Gina.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My first reaction as I saw my daughter, only thing I did was grab her and hug her. I didn't want to let go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm thrilled. And all I want to do is hug her and say, "I love you."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cleveland is great, God is good. Miracle! Miracle. Miracle.


COOPER: Today, Ariel Castro was arraigned on four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.

That does it for us. Thanks very much for watching. A programming note, I'm going to be hosting a town hall focusing on other people who have disappeared, those who made it home, the everyday heroes who saved them, and the families that are still waiting. We want to use this as an opportunity to try to introduce you to some people who are still missing and their families are desperately holding out hope that they may be found. So we urge you to watch tomorrow night at 8 Eastern for a special edition of 360, "Vanished."