Kidnap Victim Amanda Berry Tells Family She Is ‘Glad to Be Back’
(CLEVELAND) — Twenty-four hours after making an emotional call to police following her daring escape from 10 years of apparent captivity, Amanda Berry made a far different call to family members in Tennessee to let them know she is “glad to be back.”
The elation among family members and friends stretched well beyond the home where Berry, 27, and two other women — Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michele Knight, 32 — were allegedly held captive on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland.
Berry called her grandmother Fern Gentry of Elizabethton, Tenn., on Tuesday to say that the little girl in the hospital photo is her 6-year-old daughter, Jocelyn, according to ABC News affiliate WEWS-TV, which was present during the call.
“Is the little girl your baby?” Gentry asked.
“Yeah, she’s my daughter, she was born on Christmas,” Berry said.
Many of Berry’s relatives, including her grandparents and father, now live in Tennessee. Some of Berry’s younger cousins only know her through pictures and stories told by other family members.
Berry went missing at age 16 in 2003 while on her way home from a job at Burger King.
“I’m glad to have you back,” Gentry said to Berry.
“I’m glad to be back,” Berry said.
Berry’s father, John, said he had a short conversation with her on Tuesday and through his darkest days, he always knew his daughter was alive.
“I didn’t think she was dead. No, never,” he said. “Keep hope. Keep hope. Don’t give up till you know because I never gave up.”
John Berry said he knew deep down in his heart that his daughter’s “rough and tough” attitude would keep her alive. That’s why he spent years putting posters up in every store window, knowing he would one day get that call.
His former wife, Louwana Miller, worked hard to bring their daughter home, pleading with authorities to follow every tip. Miller died in 2006 at the age of 43 after being hospitalized with pancreatitis. John suspects she died of a broken heart.
John, who is recovering from back surgery, finally received that long-awaited call from a Cleveland relative after his daughter broke through a door and bolted toward freedom.
“There’s no way to explain. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Best feeling I ever had,” John said.
Knight, who vanished in 2002 when she was 20, is expected to be released from the hospital later Wednesday. Knight’s mother, Barbara, revealed that when her daughter disappeared, she filed a police report, but no one took her seriously.
“I had a caseworker tell me that maybe she doesn’t want me to be involved with her life anymore,” Barbara Knight told Cleveland’s Fox affiliate WJW-TV.
Meanwhile Wednesday morning, brothers Ariel Castro, 52, Pedro Castro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50, await arraignment as the men suspected of holding the women against their will. Authorities tell ABC News they plan to start questioning them on Wednesday.
A judge gave Cleveland police extra time to file charges against the three men, extending the charging period from 36 hours to 48 hours.
Another interesting piece of the puzzle that has come to light is a 2004 episode of American’s Most Wanted that features Ariel Castro’s daughter, Arlene, claiming that she was the last person to see DeJesus before she was abducted at age 14.
“She gave me 50 cents to call my mom, and so my mom said, ‘No,’ that I can’t go over to her house. And so I told her I couldn’t and she said, ‘Well, OK. I’ll talk to you later,’ and she just walked,” Arlene Castro said.
FBI teams plan to meet with the victims soon as they begin to piece together what they endured inside the modest two-story home on Seymour Avenue.
DeJesus, Amanda Berry and her daughter are with their families now at undisclosed locations with police protection.
Police will also work to determine Jocelyn’s paternity using DNA tests, Cleveland Police Deputy Chief Ed Tomba told ABC News on Tuesday.
But given the circumstances of Amanda Berry’s imprisonment, it was likely that Jocelyn’s father was one of three brothers arrested in connection to the women’s captivity.
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