|Ohio Republican governor John Kasich cheers on the Cleveland kidnapping survivors, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight (now Lily Rose Lee).|
Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry had overcome the odds.
A year ago in Cleveland on a quiet street, the yells of a young woman. Local neighbors were startled by a young woman and her child pleading for them to call the police. The young woman would tell the tales of being held captive in the house and tells the world that she's Amanda Berry.
Amanda Berry was kidnapped in 2003. She was leaving her job at Burger King when out of nowhere she would disappear. Her disappearance sparked national coverage.
She would tell the neighbors that two other women were in the home of this crazy man named Ariel Castro.
The other women were Michelle Knight, a young mother who ran away and Gina DeJesus, then a teenager who was walking home from school and was abducted in 2004.
Three women were held captive in a Cleveland area home. They spent nearly a decade in an old Seymour Avenue home being enslaved by Castro.
Castro, a former school bus driver and local musician held these women against their will. He would torture them, rape them and cause them miscarriages.
Castro would rape Amanda and father a child by her. He would beat Gina and Michelle when they couldn't bore his children. They would sit in a separate room in a well secured home.
Castro was a divorced father of four. He divorced his wife after he abused her. According to the law, Castro would have a sexual fetish. The man would troll the stroll for hookers and occasionally meet women on social networks. Castro feared rejection.
Castro groomed a distraught Michelle after she lost custody of her son. She would be the first victim of the horrors.
On May 6, Castro and his brothers would leave to take care of an errand. Amanda would find a portion of his home that had a broken door. She would use that broken door to escape.
Cleveland Police, the FBI and Cuyahoga County Sheriff would gather around the Seymour Avenue home grabbing evidence and reveal to the junk food media about this home being a "place of horrors".
Deep inside Castro's home was hidden rooms. Those hidden rooms and his basement were padlocked.
Castro's four grown children would be advised not to stroll around his home too much. He would regularly attend church, have relationships with women and troll for hookers. When he was done, he would go back home and have his three.
Castro's arrest ended the horror. When interviewed by the law, he would tell them that he "let his guard down" and he was thankful for allowing the law to catch him. When he was to go to trial, he wanted to plea not guilty knowing that if he was found guilty he would be given the gas chamber. So he copped a plea. That plea meant for him to give up his home, his assets would go to the victims, he would have no contact with his family or the victims, and he would spend the rest of his life in the iron college with no parole.
He took the deal. And off he goes to Orient Lockup. After a few months in the iron college, Castro would hang himself. The law knew he was suicidal, but somehow two correction guards got the pinkslip after Castro put the blankets around a bar and let his neck slide between them.
As a year passes by, I've read that the three women were award a victim's compensation and are trying to adjust to their lives.
They still live in the Cleveland area. Michelle Knight, 33 year old has distanced herself from the events. She no longer talks to Amanda Berry or Gina DeJesus. She would change her name to Lily Rose Lee, got tattooed and pierced. She reunited with her family and her son. She is attending a cooking school.
Gina DeJesus, 24 and Amanda Berry, 27 are going to be Washington, DC this week to meet with the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children. They will accept an award for their bravery and speak to national speakers including Elizabeth Smart, a survivor of a kidnapping in the 1990s.
Amanda and Michelle are mothers of children.
We here at Journal de la Reyna wish those three young women the very best. Personally, I wish each woman well. They've survived a madman's horror. They are truly loved and blessed.
We love you Michelle (Lily), Amanda and Gina! We hope that you can move forward in your lives.