Lorain Avenue is where the nightmare began for three women who police say were held captive in a Cleveland home for roughly a decade.
Amanda Berry, Georgina DeJesus and Michelle Knight each vanished from the inner-city thoroughfare.
Their families reported them missing, but neighbors living near their captors were unaware of their plight, and authorities never found them. Then, on Monday, Berry broke free, when a neighbor heeded her cries and kicked open the front door to the house that had been a jail to the abducted women.
From their disappearance to their liberation, the suspects’ arrest and the investigation, this is the course of events we are aware of so far in order of their occurrence:
• August 22, 2002 – Michelle Knight is last seen. The next day, she is reported missing. She is 21 at the time, Cleveland police say.
• April 21, 2003 – Amanda Berry is last seen after finishing her shift at a Burger King restaurant on the eve of her 17th birthday. Later that month a man calls her family from Berry’s cell phone, saying he has taken her and that she will be home in a few days.
• January 2004 – Investigators visit the home of now-kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro at the request of child services to investigate a complaint that he had left a child alone on a bus during the time he worked as a bus driver. They knock, but no one answers.
Castro is suspended for 60 days for that infraction. He also had suspensions for making a U-turn in heavy traffic with a bus full of students and for using a bus to go grocery shopping.
Police also stop at Castro’s home once, when he called them about a fight in the street nearby.
• April 2, 2004 – Georgina DeJesus stops at a pay phone with a friend around 3 p.m. to ask the friend’s mother whether the two can sleep over at DeJesus’ house. The answer is no. It is the last time she is seen for more than nine years.
• April 2004 – “America’s Most Wanted” features Berry’s and DeJesus’ stories, pointing out that they were taken from nearly the same spot on Lorain Avenue.
• Late 2004 – Berry’s mother, Louwana Miller, makes an appearance on Montel Williams’ show, where a television psychic predicts she will not see her daughter again alive. Miller dies in 2006 of heart failure. Relatives say the grief over losing her daughter damaged her health. In the years after Miller’s death, there are two leads purporting Berry’s demise; both are false.
• September 2006 – Police dig up the garage floor of a Cleveland residence after receiving a false tip that Gina DeJesus was buried there.
• July 2007 – A third girl, Ashley Summers, who has not been found, disappears from the same area. She is 14 at the time. Investigators and the family hope the liberation of Berry, DeJesus and Knight will offer insight into her case.
• 2009 – Members of Berry’s and DeJesus’ families appear on Oprah Winfrey’s show.
• July 2010 – Nina Samoylicz, who lives nearby, says she called police after seeing a naked woman in the backyard at 2207 Seymour Ave. But Samoylicz’s sister said Tuesday there was no call to police – instead they called their mother. She didn’t contact authorities because she didn’t know what to do, the mother said. Samoylicz says at the time she also saw tarps covering the backyard.
• November 2011 – Neighbor Israel Lugo calls police when he hears yelling in the Castro home, but officers leave when no one answers the door, he says.
• November 2011 – A neighbor reportedly calls the police after seeing a woman through an attic window at the Castro home. Cleveland police say they have no record of the call. They say neighbors offered no tips during the extent of the women’s captivity.
• 2011 – Tito DeJesus, who says he is not related to Georgina, enters the home to help deliver a washer and dryer he has sold to Ariel Castro, with whom he plays in a band. He does not detect anything out of the ordinary and later describes the home as “a normal environment.”
• Sunday, May 5, 2013 – The day before Berry escapes and all are freed, neighbor Lugo encounters Castro at the park walking with a little girl. Castro tells him it is his girlfriend’s daughter.
• Monday, May 6, 2013 – Berry screams for help through a crack in the front door at 2207 Seymour. Angel Cordero and neighbor Charles Ramsey say they came to her aid and kicked open the door. Ramsey and Berry call 911.
– “I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for 10 years,” the 27-year-old Berry says on the call. “And I’m here. I’m free now.” Berry has a 6-year-old girl with her. It’s her daughter, she tells a relative.
– Police arrive to find DeJesus and Knight at the home as well.
– Three brothers are detained in the women’s disappearance – 52-year-old Ariel Castro, 54-year-old Pedro Castro and 50-year-old Onil Castro.
• Tuesday, May 7, 2013 – At least two of the women and the child are released from the hospital and have more contact with family members they haven’t seen for nearly a decade.
– Castro’s neighbors speak of their astonishment that they had not noticed what was allegedly going on at the address.
– A cadaver dog searches the home. FBI agents in protective suits enter the house, and investigators remove items, including an amplifier, a storm door and black plastic bags full of objects.
– Investigators begin questioning the Castro brothers, an FBI special agent said.
• Wednesday, May 8, 2013 – Ariel Castro faces charges on four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape, Victor Perez, chief assistant prosecutor for the city of Cleveland, says late in the afternoon. He will be arraigned Thursday morning, according to the prosecutor. Castro’s two brothers will not be charged in the case.
– “The house was in quite a bit of disarray,” says Edward Tomba, deputy police chief.
– The three women “relied on each other for survival,” a law enforcement source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation told CNN. They interacted during their captivity, though they were typically kept in separate rooms, according to the source.
– Castro has waived his rights and is cooperating with investigators, Tomba said. Investigators don’t consider him a suspect in any other disappearances.
• Thursday, May 9, 2013
– Ariel Castro was arraigned on four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape, accused of holding the women captive in his Cleveland home. Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Lauren Moore ordered Castro held on $8 million bond – $2 million for each of the three women and the child born to Amanda Berry before they were freed Monday evening.
– Lead prosecutor in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Timothy McGinty, will press for more charges – “for each and every act of sexual violence … each day of kidnapping, every felonious assault (and) all his attempted murders.”
– McGinty also wants a grand jury to indict the 52-year-old Castro for “aggravated murder” for the termination of his captives’ pregnancies.
CNN’s Randi Kaye contributed to this report