Just two days after three missing women were rescued from a Cleveland home, an official police report—obtained by local news source WKYC—exposes the horrific conditions the women say they endured behind closed doors. In the grisly report, Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus explain in vivid and horrific detail how their alleged kidnapper, Ariel Castro, successfully held them captive for nearly a decade.
“All three women victims stated that Ariel chained them up in the basement,” the report reads. “But eventually he let them free from the chains and let them live upstairs on the second floor.” Once on the second floor, the physical, sexual, and mental abuse the women endured daily only worsened. They were rarely permitted to leave the house—they remember doing so only twice—and when they did, were forced to don humiliating wigs to mask their identity.
When Castro had guests over to his home on Seymour Avenue, he made sure they were invisible. “He would bring the women upstairs to the attic, tie them up, and tape their mouths,” reported Fox 8 Cleveland. The 52-year-old would then blast music throughout the house, silencing any attempts the women made to scream for help. According to one of DeJesus’s cousins, Castro further humiliated the women by forcing them to eat cake and “celebrate” National Abduction Day each year.
But among the most repulsive passages in the report is Castro’s treatment of the women after impregnating them—a product of his continual rape of all three. Reliving the scene for police, the women paint a horrifying picture of Castro’s forced “barbaric abortions”; he would allegedly starve the women for up to two weeks before “punch[ing] them in the stomach until they miscarried.”
According to the report, Michelle Knight was forced to endure the inhumane termination not once but five times. If surviving five savage abortions wasn't enough, Knight was then forced by Castro—at the threat of death—to deliver Amanda Berry's baby. The women explained how Castro provided nothing other than an inflatable baby pool meant to hold “the mess.” Castro allegedly terrorized Knight throughout the birth: “He said if the baby died, that he’d kill her,” the report reads. When Berry’s baby stopped breathing moments after leaving the womb, Knight had no choice but to perform CPR. She “breathed for her” until she could breathe on her own, the women recounted.
How exactly Castro was able to keep all three women from escaping—after he had stopped chaining them to the basement ceiling—is unclear. But a thorough read of the report suggests one of his main tactics was fear. Amanda Berry, who escaped to save all three after Castro left without “locking the big door,” told police she was terrified that he was “testing her” by leaving it unlocked.
Castro, 52, faces four charges of kidnapping and three charges of rape.