What were you doing in 2002? I was still in school, and really had no idea of the horrors the world had to offer. Unfortunately, not everyone had the same experiences as your or I. In 2002, a decade of torture and despair started at the hands of Ariel Castro.
Michelle Knight, who was 21 years old at the time, was kidnapped by Castro on August 23, 2002 in Cleveland, Ohio. She accepted a ride from Castro after leaving her cousin's house and was never seen again. Knight was the oldest of Castro's victims, which police admit is part of the reason their investigation was not as focused on her. It was just assumed that Knight had run away after losing custody of her son.
Amanda Berry was Castro's next victim. She disappeared in April of 2003, just one day before her 17th birthday. Berry called her sister just moments before she was kidnapped, saying she was getting a ride home from her job at Burger King. For about a week, the FBI just labelled Berry as a runaway. However, when an unidentified male called Berry's family using her cellphone, they knew it was serious
"I have Amanda. She's fine and will be coming home in a couple of days," the call said.
Georgina "Gina" Lynn DeJesus disappeared when she was just 14 years old. She was abducted on April 2, 2004 by Ariel Castro, who she willingly got into the car with. DeJesus was friends with Arlene Castro, Ariel's teenage daughter, so she never thought twice about getting a ride home from him. Arlene and Gina had wanted to have a sleepover, but Arlene's mom said no, which is when Ariel offered to drive her home. No Amber Alert was issued for DeJesus's disappearance because it was believed she had just run away.
"The Amber Alert should work for any missing child ," DeJesus's father said in 2006. "Whether it's an abduction or a runaway, a child needs to be found. We need to change this law"
One by one the girls were taken into captivity, but none of them could have imagined the horrors they were about to face.