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Three Missing Girls
On August 22, 2002, Michelle Knight (now known as Lily Rose Lee) was late for an appointment with a social worker when she heard a male voice. "Want me to give you a ride?" asked Ariel Castro. She knew his oldest daughter and said yes. It was a decision she would regret for a long time. Less than a year later, on April 21, 2003, Amanda Berry was walking home from work when she also accepted a ride from Castro. She knew another daughter of his and agreed to visit with her — but Berry never saw her. The following year, Castro offered a ride to a third person, Gina DeJesus, who was headed home from school. Like the rest, she knew one of his daughters, which he used as a ruse to get them to his house. She was the youngest, at age 14.
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House of Horrors
Berry, DeJesus and Lee were chained and locked inside Castro’s boarded-up home at 2207 Seymour Ave. in Cleveland. They were deprived of food and basic hygiene. Instead of having access to the restroom, they were given buckets to use. DeJesus and Lee were chained together and shared a room on the top floor. Berry lived separately, and on Christmas Day in 2006, she gave birth to a daughter. While she remained in chains most of the time, Castro occasionally took their daughter outside.
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The Women Escape
On May 6, 2013, Berry broke through the boarded front door of Castro’s home and ran across the street, where she frantically dialed 911. "Help me. I'm Amanda Berry," she said. "I've been kidnapped and I've been missing for 10 years and I'm — I’m here. I'm free now." When police arrived, they discovered DeJesus and Lee hiding inside the house. Castro forgot to bolt the door shut when he left to have a meal with his family.
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The Women Break Their Silence and Thank the Public
In their first appearance following their escape, the trio released a video and expressed their gratefulness for the public's support. "Everyone who has been there to support us has been a blessing," Berry said.
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Ariel Castro Hangs Himself in Prison
The day that Berry escaped from Castro’s home, he had left to have lunch with his family and forgot to lock the door. Police arrested him as he returned. On Aug 1, 2013, Castro, 53, was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years for his guilty plea to 937 criminal counts in the case, including kidnapping and rape. A month later, he was found hanging dead by a bed sheet inside his prison cell.
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Lily Rose Lee Releases a Book
In 2014, a year after her escape, Lee released Finding Me. The New York Times bestselling memoir described the rape, torture, near-starvation and isolation she endured for more than 10 years. “Everything in the house was unexplainable,” Lee told PEOPLE at the time. “It happened. I don’t know the reasons why.”
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Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus Recount Their Own Survival in a Book
In their New York Times bestselling book, Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland, written with Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan, Berry and DeJesus described their daily lives and living in constant fear. “He was always watching us,” DeJesus, said about Castro. “Before the door opened, your heart was just beating real fast.” Berry added, “You didn’t know why he was coming up the stairs or what was going to happen.”
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Amanda Berry Speaks Out for Other Missing People
During the decade Berry was held, her abductor allowed her to watch the news. On the anniversary of the day she vanished, she’d watch journalists interview her family, who never gave up searching for her. In early 2017, Berry went in front of the camera on behalf of others, hosting a 30-second daily news segment on Cleveland’s Fox 8 dedicated to missing people in the northeast Ohio area.
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Lily Rose Lee Shares Her 'New Life' in Second Book
Lee announced in May that she is working on her second book, Life After Darkness: My Journey to Happiness. It will publish on May 1, 2018, days before the five-year anniversary of her rescue from captivity. “She has kept a fairly low-profile,” said Georgina Levitt, publishing director for Weinstein Books, which is publishing Lee’s book. “There will be reveals about her new life.” Her first book, Finding Me, revealed how a troubled childhood helped her cope with some of her darkest days in captivity.
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Gina DeJesus Enjoys New Home and Family
As Berry has been working on TV and Lee works on her second book, DeJesus — 27-years-old and the youngest of the trio — has been quietly enjoying life with her tight-knit family in a new home in the suburbs of Cleveland, a source told PEOPLE.