Here is a look at the kidnapping of three women in Cleveland and the case against now-deceased kidnapper Ariel Castro.
Former school bus driver Ariel Castro agreed to a plea deal relating to the kidnapping, rape and assault of three young women kidnapped in Cleveland between 2002 and 2004. Under the deal, Castro agreed to plead guilty and be sentenced to life in prison without parole, and the prosecution agreed not to pursue the death penalty. A month after sentencing, Castro died by suicide in his prison cell.
The women and a 6-year-old girl were rescued from Castro’s home by neighbors in May 2013.
– Knight disappeared at the age of 21 in August 2002 from Lorain Avenue in Cleveland.
– Her family believed Knight had run away after losing custody of her son.
Amanda Berry and her 6-year-old daughter
– Berry disappeared at the age of 16 in April 2003 from Lorain Avenue.
– DNA tests have confirmed that Ariel Castro is the father of Berry’s daughter.
Georgina “Gina” DeJesus
– DeJesus disappeared at the age of 14 in April 2004 from Lorain Avenue.
August 22, 2002 – Michelle Knight is last seen. The next day, she is reported missing.
April 21, 2003 – Amanda Berry is last seen after finishing her shift at a Burger King restaurant.
April 2, 2004 – Gina DeJesus stops at a pay phone with a friend around 3:00 p.m. to ask the friend’s mother if they can sleep over at DeJesus’ house. The answer is no. It is the last time she is seen.
April 2005 – “America’s Most Wanted” features Berry’s and DeJesus’ stories, highlighting that they were taken from almost exactly the same spot on Lorain Avenue. One of the people interviewed is Arlene Castro, daughter of Ariel Castro. She is the friend who last saw DeJesus at a pay phone in April 2004.
April 2012 – Grimilda Figueroa, former partner of Ariel Castro, dies. She had accused Castro of domestic violence and abducting their daughters. Charges were dismissed on a technicality.
May 6, 2013 – Berry screams for help through a crack in the front door at 2207 Seymour Ave. Angel Cordero and neighbor Charles Ramsey kick open the door. Berry carries her 6-year-old daughter across the street and calls 911. Police arrive to find DeJesus and Knight in the house. Three brothers are detained in the women’s disappearance – Ariel Castro, Pedro Castro and Onil Castro.
May 8, 2013 – Victor Perez, chief assistant prosecutor for the city of Cleveland, announces that Ariel Castro’s brothers Onil and Pedro, originally thought to be involved in the kidnappings, will not be charged.
May 9, 2013 – Castro is charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. His bail is set at $8 million.
June 7, 2013 – Castro is indicted on 329 counts: 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felonious assault, two counts of aggravated murder (for termination of another’s pregnancy), and one count of possession of criminal tools.
July 12, 2013 – A grand jury issues a fresh indictment charging Ariel Castro with 977 counts: 512 counts of kidnapping, 446 counts of rape, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, six counts of felonious assault, three counts of child endangerment, two counts of aggravated murder, in which Castro is accused of intentionally causing the termination of a pregnancy, and one count of possessing criminal tools.
July 26, 2013 – Castro agrees to a plea deal, which recommends that he be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Under the deal, he agrees to plead guilty to 937 counts.
August 1, 2013 – Castro is sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years.
September 3, 2013 – Castro dies by suicide in his prison cell.
October 10, 2013 – The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction releases a report on Castro’s death. The report states that “rounds were not properly completed (and) post log books were falsified.” The report also raises the possibility that Castro died due to autoerotic asphyxiation rather than suicide. This claim is disputed by coroner Jan Gorniak, who performed Castro’s autopsy.
December 3, 2013 – Independent consultants, hired by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, release a report saying that Castro’s death was suicide, not accidental autoerotic asphyxiation.
May 2014 – Knight’s memoir, “Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, A Life Reclaimed,” is published. Knight also reveals that she is changing her name to Lillian Rose Lee.
April 2015 – Berry and DeJesus’ book, “Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland,” is published.
May 2, 2015 – The Lifetime Original Movie “Cleveland Abduction” premieres on television.
February 6, 2017 – Fox 8 News in Cleveland announces that Berry is the new host of the station’s missing persons segment.
May 1, 2018 – Knight’s second book, “Life After Darkness: Finding Healing and Happiness After the Cleveland Kidnappings,” is published.