19 Investigates: The Missing: Marking the 10-year anniversary of the Miracle in Cleveland

The Cleveland kidnapping victims escaped 10 years ago. Now, this is how the story of their miracle is helping others.
Published: May. 1, 2023 at 10:30 AM EDT|Updated: May. 1, 2023 at 10:31 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - This week marks 10 years since the city of Cleveland and the nation witnessed a true miracle.

Three heroic Cleveland women, two who were kidnapped as teenagers, trapped and tortured for nearly a decade, were found alive back on May 6, 2013.

That’s after years in captivity at a Seymour Avenue home in Cleveland where they were often chained up in the basement.

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were all kidnapped by Ariel Castro of Cleveland between 2002 and 2004.

Berry escaped the house of horrors one day, with her child and called 911 to get help for the two others.

Castro pleaded guilty to 937 charges and was sentenced to life in prison, plus 1,000 years, but he ultimately hanged himself in his cell.

19 Investigates: A deeper look at Northeast Ohio's missing people
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“I still have those feelings that he’s breathing down my neck, like he’s right there. I was trapped in a small room. I considered it a shoebox.”

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For Gina DeJesus, after some time and with the help of her cousin Sylvia Colon, she wanted to give back.

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19 News will mark the 10-year anniversary of the Cleveland kidnapping victims’ freedom, with live broadcasts on Friday, May 5, from the Cleveland Family Center for Missing Children and Adults.

The center was founded by DeJesus and her cousin Sylvia Colon, and it’s a local resource for families that’s now making a real difference in helping to find missing loved ones.

“We always tell people this is a judgement free zone. We don’t care really why they’re missing, we just want to help the family bring their loved one home,” Colon said.

19 News will dedicate stories each day this week to remembering the miracle back in May of 2013, while taking a look at missing cases that are active in Northeast Ohio, and talking to the people who are working 24/7 to bring the missing back home.

Miracle in Cleveland: Further coverage marking the 10-year anniversary
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When someone goes missing, the clock starts ticking. Police say every second counts. The quicker people report someone missing, the sooner the police can get to work.

1st police officer on scene of Miracle in Cleveland reflects 10 years later

For the first time, we’re hearing from the retired Cleveland Patrolman Anthony Espada, who was first to respond to the scene at Seymour Avenue nearly 10 years ago, along with his partner Mike Tracey who couldn’t believe his eyes

U.S. Marshals seek community help in search for 2 juveniles

The U.S. Marshals Missing Child Unit is looking for tips that can help them locate two missing Northeast Ohio teenagers. 13-year-old Dominic Oakes and 17-year-old Harmony Gillen have been missing since April and February respectively.

10 Years Later: Gina, Amanda, and Michelle

It’s a case that sent shockwaves through Cleveland and beyond. On May 6, 2013, three young women were found alive inside Ariel Castro’s house of horrors on the city’s near west side. Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight had been abducted and held captive for years until one of the women was able to escape and get help.

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It's been 10 years since the day three Cleveland women broke free from being held captive in a home on the city’s west side.