After spending a decade in captivity, while friends and family feared they were dead, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus on Wednesday finally returned home.
Berry, 27, who went missing one day before her 17th birthday, chose not to make a statement after arriving at her family’s house, where a flood of reporters stood waiting. But her sister, Beth Serrano, did come out to deliver brief remarks:
“I just want to say we are so happy to have Amanda and her daughter home. I want to thank the public and the media for their support and encouragement over the years. At this time, our family would request privacy so my sister and niece and I can have time to recover. We appreciate all you have done for us throughout the past 10 years. Please respect our privacy until we are ready to make our statement, and thank you.”
Sandra Ruiz, the aunt of 23-year-old DeJesus, thanked police and supporters after her niece returned home mid-afternoon Wednesday. DeJesus told investigators she was kidnapped on her way home from school in 2004.
Police sources familiar with the investigation told NBC News that Berry, DeJesus and one other victim found Monday revealed horrible details about their captivity—including accounts of multiple pregnancies, forcible rape, and miscarriages—in initial interviews with law enforcement. Berry also said that they did not see any adults for ten years, according to police sources.
Berry disappeared in April 2003, after calling her sister to say she was getting a ride home from her job at Burger King. She hadn’t been seen since, until a neighbor heard cries and helped kick in a locked door on Monday, allowing Berry and her six-year-old to escape.
Another woman, 30-year-old Michelle Knight, was also found in the house where Berry and DeJesus had been held captive. She went missing 11 years ago. Knight is still in the hospital and in good condition, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Police have arrested Ariel Castro, 52, the owner of the house where the women were discovered. His brothers, Pedro, 54, and Onil, 50, were also arrested in connection with the kidnappings, but authorities said they have no evidence that the brothers were in involved, NBC News reports. Ariel Castro has been charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.
Watch host Thomas Roberts discuss the psychology of captivity with Dr. Sudeepta Varna above.