(CLEVELAND) — As Amanda Berry’s relatives wait anxiously to welcome her home with balloons and flowers after her 10 years in captivity, one person who worked tenaciously to bring attention to Amanda’s disappearance will be missing from the reunion: her mother.
Louwana Miller, who retraced her daughter’s path, gave media interviews and encouraged authorities to follow every tip until her daughter was brought home, died in 2006 at the age of 43 after being hospitalized with pancreatitis.
Betty Goins, who is divorced from Berry’s cousin but remains close to the family, said the family felt Miller’s presence as they celebrated.
“She’s here,” Goins said.
Berry’s relatives said they are ready to embrace a new family member, Berry’s 6-year-old daughter, who authorities said was born while the young woman was in captivity.
“Obviously she loves her very much, and I guess we will love her very much, too,” Goins said. “We bought her little gifts.”
A photograph was released by Berry’s family showing her smiling with her arm around her sister Monday night, her daughter by her side.
“She’s a darling, from what I’ve seen of the pictures,” Berry’s second cousin, Michael Sneed, told ABC News. “From Amanda being her mother, she’s going to be a sweetheart.”
After more than a decade, Berry’s relatives heard her voice for the first time in a 911 call.
“Hello police. Help me, I’m Amanda Berry,” she told the dispatcher. “I’ve been kidnapped and I’ve been missing for 10 years and I’m here. I’m free now.”
Sneed said his cousin’s voice had changed.
“That was a different person. When she left, she was a child. I want to say a child even though she was 17. She had a different voice, different tone. She was more innocent,” he said. “This one seemed like it was more scared.”
Berry’s brave bolt to freedom with her daughter on Monday led police to the two-story home on Seymour Avenue, where they found two other missing women, Michele Knight and Georgina “Gina” DeJesus, waiting to be rescued.
While Knight remained in the hospital, FBI sources told ABC News the other three were taken to an undisclosed location and an FBI agent has been assigned to each person.
“I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get the words out when I see her,” Goins said. “It’s just going to be tears everywhere.”
Sneed said he was proud of the bravery his cousin showed on Monday.
“To overcome that control, break free, and that power these men had on her, she took it on herself, her baby and the other girls,” he said. “She’s phenomenal.”
Authorities have plenty of questions for the women, but said for now they planned to proceed delicately as they reunite with family.
“Prayers have finally been answered. The nightmare is over,” said Stephen Anthony, head of the FBI in Cleveland.
“These three young ladies have provided us with the ultimate definition of survival and perseverance,” he said. “The healing can now begin.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Ben Oldach, CNN
Dana Ford, CNN