By Lynn Malone
Police have found ropes and chains in a house in Cleveland where three women were imprisoned for more than a decade.
Chief of Cleveland Police, Michael McGrath, said they were used to tie the women up, telling US broadcaster NBC “We have confirmation that they were bound.”
Mr McGrath said that investigators believed the women were allowed out of the house rarely but didn’t know how often they were tied up.
The three women, Amanda Berry, 27, Gina De Jesus, 23 and Michelle Knight, 32 disappeared from the same area in Cleveland between 2002 and 2004. Police say they were held just three miles from where they went missing.
Suspect Ariel Castro, 52, who owned the house at 2207 Seymour, where the women were found, was arrested on Monday night after Amanda Berry escaped. The women and Berry’s six-year-old daughter were freed after she broke out the bottom of a screen door and called for help on Monday evening.
Neighbours Charles Ramsey and Angel Cordero heard her cries for help and kicked in the door so she could escape.
Ramsey told CNN how he heard a girl scream “like a car had hit a kid.” and ran from his living room, clutching a half-eaten McDonald’s to the house and helped free Berry adding: “Amanda said, ‘I’ve been trapped in here. He won’t let me out. It’s me and my baby.”
Both men broke down the door and Berry used her neighbours phone to make a frantic emergency call.
“I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for 10 years,” she said “And I’m here. I’m free.”
After police arrived, Berry explained there were other women inside. When police came out with them, Ramsey told reporters, “It was astonishing.”
Cleveland officials have denied claims by neighbours that they called police in the past to report suspicious behaviour at the house. A spokesperson said that “Media reports of multiple calls to the Cleveland Police reporting suspicious activity and the mistreatment of women at 2207 Seymour are false,”
But residents made allegations on CNN that they had called police in recent years to report separate incidents at the home. One neighbour claimed she and others saw a naked woman in the backyard of the home and called police.
Since they escaped, the women have been reunited with family members they have not seen in nearly 10 years.
Police have a deadline to bring charges against Castro, and his brothers, Pedro Castro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50. The men are in police custody and are expected to be charged according to CNN news.