(NEW YORK) — The people who came to Amanda Berry’s rescue didn’t believe her when she identified herself as Cleveland’s best known missing person, certain that Amanda Berry had died years ago.
Berry’s shocking appearance at the door of a Cleveland house occurred as Aurora Martin was sitting on her porch with a friend. Charles Ramsey was inside his house eating a McDonald’s meal when the woman across the street began kicking at the door and screaming for help.
“I’m Amanda Berry! I’m Amanda Berry!” the woman shouted.
“No, Amanda Berry died years ago,” Martin told her.
Martin summoned Ramsey to help the clearly frantic woman.
“I look and I see this girl and she’s just going nuts on the door so, I’m like, ‘What’s your problem? If you’re stuck, just open the door.’ She said ‘I can’t, you got it locked,'” he said.
Ramsey, who initially believed Berry was involved in a domestic dispute, said he helped kick in the aluminum screen door through which Berry and her daughter escaped.
“Luckily … it was aluminum, it was cheap,” he said. “And she climbed out with her daughter. …She went to my house, we called 911.”
Ramsey, who is black, later joked about his role in Berry’s rescue.
“I knew something was wrong when a pretty white girl runs into black guy’s arms,” Ramsey told ABC News affiliate WEWS.
“She said call 911, my name is Amanda Berry. When she told me [her name,] it didn’t register until I called 911. I’m calling 911 for Amanda Berry. I thought that girl was dead,” he said.
Police said the 911 dispatcher received two calls shortly before 6 p.m., one from Ramsey and one from Berry.
Martin said Berry’s hand was trembling as she made her own call to 911.
“I’m Amanda Berry,” Berry said on the call. “I’ve been kidnapped and I’ve been missing for 10 years and I’m here. I’m free now. … I’ve been in the news for the last 10 years…with Gina.”
Ramsey said that after the incident, a detective said to him, “Charles, do you know who rescued?”
Ramsey said he lived across the street from the house for a year and had socialized with the owner, Ariel Castro, 52, who is now arrested in the abduction and imprisonment of Berry and two other women, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.
Martin called Castro a great neighbor and Ramsey said he ate barbeque ribs and listened to salsa music with Castro. Castro, he said, was regularly outside playing with his dogs and tinkering with cars and motorcycles.
But Ramsey said he did not have “a clue” that women were allegedly being held inside. He also said that Castro drew no attention to himself.
“I saw this dude every day. …There was nothing exciting about him, until today,” he said.
Castro’s two brothers, Pedro Castro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50 have also been arrested.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Madeline Holcombe, CNN
Betsy Klein, CNN
Paul R. La Monica, CNN
Susan Scutti, CNN