After 10 years in Cleveland’s house of horrors, the oldest kidnapping victim is finally free. Now all she has to do is get back to her family.
Loud cheers greeted Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus as they arrived at their homes Wednesday afternoon, almost one decade after they were abducted, subjected to prolonged sexual and psychological abuse, and apparently bound with ropes and chains, in the Cleveland house of horrors.
Michelle Knight, seen here as a teenager in an undated photo, disappeared in 2002. (Knight family)
The happy homecoming came on the same day that 52-year-old Ariel Castro was charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape, and police officers pulled out more than 200 items of evidence from Ariel Castro’s home on Seymour Avenue.
First reporters hounded them for interviews. Now the mother and father of the Tsarnaev brothers have been kicked out of Chechnya by its president.
The message to the parents of the Boston bombing suspects was clear and unmistakable: “pack and go.”
Anzor Tsarnaev, father of the suspected Boston bombers, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, speaks with journalists as a mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva (R) looks at him during a news conference in Makhachkala on April 25, 2013. (Sergei Rasulov/AFP/Getty)
And soon after the phone call from the Chechen authorities Tuesday, a car carrying government officials arrived to accompany the couple out of the republic.
The alleged Cleveland kidnapper’s brothers are friendly drunks with no apparent jobs or girlfriends. They lived with their Jehovah’s Witness mom. And now they’re pariahs.
Of Cleveland’s three Castro brothers, it was the middle one, Ariel, 52, who seemed to have his life in order.
Neighbors describe the other siblings—Pedro, 54, and Onil, 50—as kind and polite but nearly always drunk. No one could remember how they earned a living. Ariel, on the other hand, who was charged Wednesday with the rape and kidnapping of three women he allegedly held hostage in his home for nearly a decade, worked a day job for 20 years as a schoolbus driver until he was fired in November. While his brothers got around town on bicycles, Ariel owned a motorcycle and cars, including a Jeep Cherokee and a red Toyota pickup. He had at one time filled in on bass in a local band, Grupo Fuego. He didn’t drink nearly as prolifically as his two siblings did.
From left: Onil Castro, Ariel Castro, and Pedro Castro. Ariel Castro, suspected of keeping three women captive inside his decrepit house for a decade, was charged May 8 with kidnapping and rape. (AP)
See the best TV moments of Charles Ramsey.
We first met Charles Ramsey, the hero who rescued three Cleveland women from close to a decade of captivity, in this amazing interview. His plain white T-shirt counterbalanced his colorful personality, and Ramsey’s intensity and wit shone through as he described his decisive actions. But first, he mentioned his meal at McDonald’s. Delicious.
The interview made him an Internet celebrity. Before long, “Charles Ramsey” was trending on Twitter, YouTubers were paying him Auto-Tuned homage, and Antoine Dodson was welcoming him into the pantheon of hilariously expressive local TV interview subjects.
(Here’s the requisite Gregory Brothers auto-tune:)
Is an uptick in military sex assault just due to our hookup culture? That’s what an Air Force general said on Capitol Hill Tuesday, testimony Senator Gillibrand tells Eleanor Clift is ‘outrageous.’
If it was possible to make a bad situation worse, that’s what Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh managed to do at a Senate hearing Tuesday morning when he blamed an increase in sexual assault in the military on the “hookup” culture prevalent among young people. Welsh said 20 percent of female recruits report being assaulted before they joined the military. “They come in from a society where this occurs,” he said.
The Senate Armed Services Committee hears from top officials of the Air Force, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, right, and Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, left, during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 7, 2013. (J. Scott Applewhite/Getty)
Not only did Welsh’s remark seem to place blame on the victim, it also revealed a tendency to view sexual assault in the most benign way, as a date gone bad or a breakdown in communications rather than a violent act. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the first woman to chair the personnel subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee, told The Daily Beast it was “outrageous testimony” that showed a fundamental misunderstanding about the violent nature of sexual assault. The senator is introducing a bill next week to take felony crimes out of the chain of command so that rape victims will feel more able to report violent assault without fearing repercussions from officers up the line.
The joyful news that three women were found missing after 10 years has stopped the Ohio city in its tracks.
The news stopped everyone in Cleveland dead in his or her tracks.
Three women who had been missing for close to a decade—Georgina “Gina” DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight—were alive and well. Berry had somehow managed (with the help of a neighbor) to escape through the bottom half of a broken front door of a house on Seymor Avenue on Cleveland’s Westside. She had her 6-year-old daughter, who evidently was born while she was in captivity, with her. All three women were taken to nearby MetroHealth hospital where a huge and jubilant crowd soon gathered and patiently waited for any bit of information on their condition.
Balloons fly outside the home of Gina DeJesus Tuesday, May 7, 2013, in Cleveland. DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight (not pictured), who went missing separately about a decade ago, were found in a home just south of downtown Cleveland. (Tony Dejak/AP; FBI/AP; FBI/Getty)
Sex offender laws are meant to protect children, but research increasingly shows the severe damage they cause, reports Nicole Pittman.
Jacob C. was 11 years old and living in Michigan when he was convicted of criminal sexual conduct for touching his younger sister’s genitals. After serving a three-year sentence, he was placed on the state’s sex offender registry and forced to live separately from his mother and sister, in a foster home.
Wards from the sex offender treatment program line up in their dormitory at the O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton, Calif., on March 15, 2007. (Steve Yeater/AP)
At 18, he began attending a local college, but his "sex offender" status drew the attention of campus police, who tailed him everywhere. He soon dropped out. Jacob tried to make a new life in Florida, but with his name, address, photograph, and details of his past offense available on an online registry for all to see, he had difficulty finding a job or a place to live, and for a time he was homeless. He married and had a daughter, but when he and his wife divorced he was denied custody, again because of his history.
Two days after a horrific fire in the back of a limousine killed a new bride and four of her friends, authorities still don’t know the cause. Christine Pelisek on what the driver has to say.
It was supposed to be a night of celebration, but it ended in tragedy.
As of Monday, California authorities still don’t know what caused a 1999 white Lincoln stretch limousine to burst into flames on a San Francisco bridge Saturday night, killing five women inside, including a new bride. Four other women in the car, as well as the driver, were able to escape.
San Mateo County firefighters and California Highway Patrol investigate the scene of a limousine fire on the westbound side of the San Mateo-Hayward bridge in Foster City, California, on Saturday, May 4, 2013. Five women died when they were trapped in the limo that caught fire as they were traveling. Four women and the driver were able to escape. (Jane Tyska/Oakland Tribune/MCT/Landov)
Fire engulfed the vehicle in 90 seconds, killing five.
The driver of a limo that caught fire on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge—taking the lives of a newlywed and four of her bridesmaids—shed new light on the horrific incident Monday. “There were just so many flames,” Orville Brown told the Associated Press. “Within 90 seconds, the car was fully engulfed.” Brown said he mistook one woman’s call of “smoke” from the backseat as her wanting to smoke a cigarette. By the time he noticed the fire, “it was almost impossible for them to get out.” The Foster City Fire Department is investigating what caused the fire.
American retirement is in free fall, and even the safest plans are turning out to be dangerous.
WE SCRIMP. We save. We plan. And we dream that when we retire—at 50 or 70 or 90—we’ll ride off into the sunset on a chariot made of our sequestered gold.
But you can stop the dream right there.
If we do say so ourselves. Sex scandal be damned, the disgraced former congressman is now officially running for mayor of New York City. But what is Anthony Weiner really saying in his new campaign video?