Update, Tuesday afternoon: As reports surface with disgusting details of the kidnappings, we have to ask: Is Charles Ramsey an Internet hero for the right reasons?
Update, Tuesday: Here's the latest from the morning press conference with law enforcement officials, including news that one of the three women rescued was the young daughter of another.
Update, 10:55 p.m. Eastern: Thanks to a 911 phone call and the help of an energetic neighbor named Charles Ramsey, three women who've been missing for years are now safe. Cleveland Police found all three women alive in the house of a local 52-year-old school bus driver named Ariel Castro who was arrested soon after the call. (Listen to Amanda Berry's 911 call here. Better yet, listen to Charles Ramsey's 911 call here.)
Amanda Berry, who went missing ten years ago at age 16, and Gina DeJesus, who went missing a year later at age 14 had both been subjects of a years-long missing persons cases that led to many dead ends and more than one excavation in search of a body. Little is known about what happened to the third woman, Michelle Knight. In fact, little is known about what happened inside the Cleveland house, where the women have apparently been held prison for about a decade. In an odd twist of events it was revealed not long after the rescue that Castro wrote a 2004 article about Gina DeJesus and the abductions for the Plain Press, a community newspaper serving the west side of Cleveland.
Following their rescue, Berry, DeJesus and Knight — now 27-, 23- and 32-years-old — were taken to a local hospital. A cheering crowd gathered at the house, where a joyful community was happy to have found the women after so many years of looking. Knight disappeared in 2002 and was held longest. Berry had gone missing in 2003, while walking home from her job at Burger King, while DeJesus was abducted in 2004 while walking home from school in the same area.
This brings us back to Charles Ramsey, who lives next door to the house where the women were found. Ramsey says he was "eatin' [his] McDonalds" when he heard a woman scream for help. "Help me!" she said. "I'm Amanda Berry!" He rushed outside to see what was going on and recognized the woman standing on his neighbor's porch. After police arrived, Ramsey pieced together what had happened and couldn't believe his neighbor hid such a secret from everyone in the neighborhood.
"You got to have some big testicles to pull this off, bro, because we see this dude every day. I mean every day," Ramsey told the local news reporter about his neighbor at one point. "I barbecue with this dude. We eat ribs and what not and listen to salsa music. Know where I'm coming from?" (This man's going to be an Internet meme for sure.)
Honestly, it's better if you just watch Charles tell the story. Just watch the video, and watch it to the end. Trust us.
This interview from later in the evening is also a must see.