As police continue their investigation into the case of the three Ohio women who were held captive for a decade, questions are building about their horrific ordeals.
Investigators have released few details about what happened to Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. Three brothers – Ariel, Onil and Pedro Castro – have been arrested. Ariel was charged Wednesday evening with kidnapping and rape. The other two brothers had not been charged.
Here are several key questions related to the case:
Why were the women kidnapped?
Police have not revealed any possible motives for the kidnappings and forcible confinements.
However, reports suggest the three women were raped, resulting in as many as five pregnancies. Cleveland’s WKYC-TV reported that the suspects beat the pregnant women, who miscarried in all but one case.
Six years ago, Ms. Berry gave birth to a baby girl. The father is believed to be Ariel Castro, the owner of the home. Relatives and neighbours say Mr. Castro told them the child was his girlfriend’s daughter.
How did Amanda Berry give birth in captivity with no public record or medical help?
When Ms. Berry became pregnant, Mr. Castro enlisted Ms. Knight, who had a son before she was kidnapped, to deliver the baby, WOIO reported.
“She was told she would die if the baby died,” CBS reporter Ed Gallek said.
The infant was born in a small inflatable pool, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.
How were the women held captive for so long?
Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath told NBC’s Today show on Wednesday that the women were bound by chains and ropes.
Local CBS affiliate WOIO reported that the women were kept in chains in different parts of the house until Ms. Berry gave birth.
Once they were no longer bound, WOIO reported, Mr. Castro would sometimes pretend to leave and then, if they tried to make for the door, would beat them.
According to court documents, Mr. Castro is 5 foot 8 and weighs 180 lb. At the time of their disappearances, Ms. Berry and Gina DeJesus were 5 feet 1. Ms. Knight, who has a developmental disability, was nicknamed “Shorty” because she is 4 feet 7 inches.
Mr. McGrath said the women were “very rarely” allowed outside. “They were released out in the backyard once in a while I believe,” he said.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Mr. Castro sometimes took the women outside after making them wear a disguise.
Did anyone suspect anything was amiss at the house?
Cleveland Police have repeatedly said that they were called about the house just twice and for unrelated incidents: Once when Ariel Castro reported a fight in the street and another time when Mr. Castro, who used to work as a bus driver, left a child unattended on a school bus.
However, neighbours have told media that they contacted police about suspicious activity at the house.
Elsie Cintron said her granddaughter said she had seen “a naked lady crawling in the backyard of his house,” the BBC reported. She also saw a “little girl up in the attic window.” Ms. Cintron said she told a police officer about her suspicions, but was told to contact a detective. Discouraged, she let it go.
What role did the three brothers allegedly play in the case?
Although all three brothers were arrested on Monday, only Ariel has been charged. Police said Wednesday that they had "found no facts to link" Onil or Pedro to the alleged crimes based on interviews with the victims and Ariel.
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