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Police ask how three women in Cleveland kidnapping went undetected so long

The news that three women – Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight – were held in a Cleveland home for about a decade shocked neighbors, who said they didn't notice anything.

By Correspondent / May 7, 2013

Sandra Ruiz, aunt of Gina DeJesus, talks about her visit with Gina on Tuesday in Cleveland. Gina DeJesus and two other women who went missing separately about a decade ago were found in a home just south of downtown where they had been kept captive.

Tony Dejak/AP

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Cleveland police on Monday night arrested three brothers in connection with kidnapping and holding captive three women for the past decade – a situation that left neighbors wondering why they had not noticed suspicious activity.

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Staff writer

Allison Terry works on the web team at the Christian Science Monitor, coordinating online infographics. She contributes to the culture section and Global News blog, and previously reported and edited for the national news and cover page desks.

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Suspect Ariel Castro owns the house where Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight were held captive for about 10 years until Ms. Berry escaped Monday evening and called 911, Police Chief Michael McGrath said at a news conference Tuesday morning. Mr. Castro’s brothers – Pedro Castro and Onil Castro – were also arrested, though they do not live at the house.

Berry identified Ariel Castro as her captor in her frantic 911 call Monday evening, according to the call transcript. Police say they believe they have the right people in custody, but the investigation could take many weeks.

“We have several unanswered questions,” said Cleveland Mayor Frank Johnson at a press conference Tuesday. “Why were they taken? How were they taken? And how did they remain undetected in the city of Cleveland for this period of time?”

Neighbors on Seymour Avenue on the west side of Cleveland are surprised that the women were found in the house of Castro, a nice guy who attended neighborhood barbecues and offered kids rides on his four-wheeler.

“I'm not the only one on the block that feels ashamed to know that we didn't notice anything,” Juan Perez, who grew up two houses down the block, told WEWS-TV Monday night. “I mean, I feel like my head's low, I work at a school, I work with kids ... I have a heavy heart right now.”

Another neighbor said he never saw women or girls at the house, and there was no indication that people were being held against their will – only Castro doing “average” things.

“He just comes out to his backyard, plays with the dogs, tinkering with his cars and motorcycles, [and goes] back in the house,” Charles Ramsey, a neighbor, told WEWS-TV Monday. “There’s nothing exciting about him. Well, until today.”

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