tv 2020 ABC April 30, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
captive. a journey of hope and survival. a "20/20" saturday with robin roberts. >> reporter: may 6th, 2013. and the gritty heartland city of cleveland is about to witness a miracle. >> help me, i'm amanda berry. i've been kidnapped and been missing for ten years. i'm here. i'm free now. >> reporter: amanda berry, abducted just a day before her 17th birthday, but she did not escape alone.
two other young women were found that day. >> gina dejesus returns here. she is, indeed, home. >> reporter: gina dejesus, kidnapped at the age of 14. and michelle knight, even even known to be missing. their abductor was a deranged school bus driver named ariel castro. but through the years of their captivity, they held on to one conviction -- that their families would never give up on them. ten years later, that faith brought them home. the story in their book begins this way. "now, we want the world to know. we survived, we love life. we were stronger than ariel castro." >> good evening, welcome to "20/20" saturday. >> we're about to take you on an amazing journey of resilience and faith. that's all amanda berry and gina
dejesus had to hold onto to survive a decade in that cleveland house of horrors. >> right here tonight, they're telling what did happen in a memoir, appropriately titled "hope." robin roberts with their incredible story. >> reporter: amanda berry, now 30, is tiny. just over five feet tall. but inside, a tower of strength. tell me what you were like when you were 13, what kind of teenager were you then? >> i was pretty much a home body. i stayed home a lot. you know, did my schoolwork. >> reporter: what did you want to be when you grew up? >> i was into fashion. like, when i was in school, the shoes had to match the shirt and the shoelals shoelaces had to m outfit, you know? >> reporter: she was raised by her mother and older sister in a working class neighborhood on the city's west side. the tiny girl had big dreams of being the first in her family to go to college. >> we was a very close family. it was me, my mom, my sister and my two daughters. we did everything together.
it was not a time that she didn't call and let us know where she was. >> reporter: it is april 21st, 2003, the day before her 17th birthday. and amanda is on her way to work at burger king. how did that day begin? >> well, my mom gave me a kiss and just told me to have a good day, and i got up, got ready for work. i almost called off of work that day cause the next day was my birthday. you know, what if? what if i would've called off that day? >> reporter: that question would haunt her in years to come. but this day begins like any other. until the moment when an suv starts to follow her down the street. >> and he asked, "do you need a ride home?" and i said yes. >> reporter: the man inside is the father of her friend angie castro from middle school. so, did that make you feel a little relieved? >> it did, yeah. you know, it's a friend's dad. he's like, "well, she's at my house, would you like to go see
her?" i said, "yeah, sure, i haven't seen her in a while." >> reporter: they drove down this quiet street, seymour avenue, and pull up in front of a white, two-storied house. and what happened when you went into the house? >> he said, "oh, well the bathroom door's closed. i think, maybe she's taking a bath." so, he said, "we'll just wait." so, he started showing me around the house. and i never got back out. >> reporter: moments after stepping through the door, amanda knows she is in troub. castro takes her upstairs and shows her something strange. a mystery woman sleeping in a bedroom in front of a television set. >> when i seen her, it was that a little peephole that the doornob was supposed to go in. so that's all i saw. >> reporter: she would later learn that woman, 22-year-old michelle knight, had been castro's prisoner for almost a year. and what did he tell you? >> that that was his roommate. >> reporter: her memories of what happened next are still raw. >> when he took me to the next
bedroom, and it was just really dark in there and he didn't turn on the lights. and there was a little room off of the bigger bedroom, kind of a big closet, and he took me in there and he -- told me to pull down my pants. and from there, i knew, like, this was not going to be good. >> reporter: amanda has just become castro's second prisoner. >> when he took me to the basement, he taped my wrist and he taped my -- he taped my ankles and he put on a belt around my ankles over the tape. and he put a helmet over my head. and he said, "just be quiet and don't make any noise. and i'll take you home."
>> reporter: the visor of that black helmet is now fogged by her tears. >> he chained me up to this pole and it was like a really thick chain, like a motor chain or something. and he just left me there. he put -- he shut the lights off and put a little tv there and i was just left in the dark. i just started screaming and crying. and "somebody please help me," you know. the and nobody -- nobody came. >> reporter: so, you're there in the dark, you're chained up. lord only knows what you had to be thinking. >> i was so scared that i was going to die. i didn't think that i was going to ever make it home. >> reporter: just a ten-minute drive away, her sister, beth, is worrying about why amanda never came home. so, her mother calls the police. >> we left her a message. by the third phone call, with no answer, we knew something was wrong, because 90% of the time, she's going to answer that phone.
>> reporter: the neighborhood around amanda's home becomes ground zero for the investigation. fbi special agent tim kolonick, head of the violent crimes unit, knows that the road ahead is far from easy. >> missing person cases are probably the most difficult cases that we work. and the reason is, it really is a needle in a haystack. you are looking for that piece of evidence. you know, some unusual person walking down the street. an unusual vehicle. >> reporter: all across the city, the news of her abduction makes headlines as the search for the missing teenager begins. and in that white house on seymour avenue, amanda watches her mother, her sister, her own story slowly unfold in the bitter greys of a tiny black and white tv. >> keep it going in the news media, any flyers i can do. >> i wanted her to know that we was fighting for her, and we wasn't going to give up until we knew where she was or what had happened. >> reporter: what went through your mind when you were watching that as you were chained?
>> that kept me going. and i said, you know what, i'm going to make it home to you. as long as you fight, i'm going to fight. >> reporter: it is day four of amanda's abduction. castro has moved her to an upstairs bedroom, chaining her to a radiator. the hours are crawling by. the loneliness, the isolation, amanda, that you must have felt -- how did you deal with that? >> well, the first week i was there was really tough. so, i asked for maybe a coloring book, and something i can write in, a journal or something. >> reporter: the first thing he gives her is a diary with a tiny lock and key. her first entry, written by the flickering light of the television. >> i just can't wait to go home. i'm 17 now, but don't have a life. but he told me i'm young and i will go home before summer. another two months. >> reporter: it would be ten years before she would return home.
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"20/20" saturday continues with "captive." once again, robin roberts. >> reporter: this is a scale model of ariel castro's house. 1,400 square feet. four bedrooms. and one bathroom. amanda was first held captive down in the basement. then moved to the second floor and chained in the main bedroom. just steps down the hall, michelle knight, castro's first captive, lived in a second tiny bedroom. on the surface, the house didn't draw a second glance. but concealed inside 2207 seymour avenue is a bunker
of chilling magnitude. >> there were doors that were put on the windows. completely covering the windows, so no light could come in. the bolts that held those doors on the wall were sheared off. there was no way they could get at them. and those were even behind plexiglass. >> reporter: its owner, ariel castro is five feet seven inches tall and a recluse. his only known hobby -- playing weekend gigs at local jazz clubs. >> on the outside, he appeared very normal. he might be the last one you would suspect of wrongdoing. >> reporter: but this school bus driver is a man with a past. he has a former wife, four children, and a history of brutal violence. she and her children moved out of the house, fleeing castro's violent rage. >> he hated women. he beat his wife so badly, he stomped on her head, he broke her teeth, he broke her bones. >> reporter: from the beginning, amanda could sense the uncontrollable anger within. >> he was very intimidating.
he was very scary. his voice were mean and, like, deep, and if you ever looked into his eyes, they were, like, black, like he had no soul. >> reporter: it is april 27th, 2003. six days into captivity and amanda is still chained to that radiator in the second floor bedroom. >> my chain is actually a few different chains, linked by padlocks. it stretches five feet from the radiator to my stomach. five feet has become the size of my whole world. >> reporter: can you describe what it was like to live chained like that? >> it was really hard going asleep at night, you know, if you wanted to toss onto your back, you couldn't do that, you would have to take the whole chain and move it to the front of your stomach, so that you're not laying on the big lock on your back. >> reporter: her tiny room, about the size of a closet, is dark and filthy. >> the mattress was old and nasty.
it was just disgusting. and the bucket to use the bathroom, that smelled horrible. >> reporter: once a day, he feeds her. sometimes junk food, sometimes not at all. >> he started to give a bag of chips or crackers or something. >> reporter: her access to the bathroom is strictly limited. >> you could only take a bath like once a week. >> reporter: ariel castro is her only lifeline. but everything -- even her weekly shower -- comes at a price. >> he tried to act nice, but he's like, "well, maybe you need to go take a shower" and i had to take a shower with him. >> reporter: he forced you to take a shower with him? >> he thought that, well, i gave her that, i deserve this. >> reporter: what do you want to tell people about the sexual abuse that you suffered? >> it was horrible. after awhile, you just get used to it, like, you -- like, numb yourself to it. and you put your mind somewhere else so that you're not there, you know? you're not in that room with
him. >> reporter: how often did you think you were not going to survive? >> oh, there was plenty of times when i just never knew if -- why is he keeping me here? is it, you know, one day, when he's done with me, you know, he'll kill me and get rid of me. >> reporter: yet, what amanda now knows of castro's brutality strengthens her conviction to survive. >> i realize i have a mission. this man enjoys hurting women. and i want people to know it. i don't want him to get away with it. i need to outlast him. >> reporter: she keeps a record -- in code -- in her diary, hidden testimony against ariel castro. one "x." three. four. each entry, a daily record of rape. you would actually put how many times he was assaulting you. >> i would always write these numbers at the top of the pages, because i felt like, you know, one day, maybe authorities will get to read it and he'll be
punished for what he did. >> reporter: she's disturbed that castro calls her his temporary wife. >> he would try to hold hands with me. it would just make me sick because he would fall asleep and so, i would, like, take my hand away from his hand and i would, like, scoot to the very edge of the bed, but i couldn't go too far, because of the chain. >> reporter: amanda has been missing for a week when her family receives a late night call. it is castro, taunting them, using amanda's cell phone. >> he called and said, "i have mandy." which nobody called her mandy, but who knew her. "she wants to be with me. we're married." well, we kind of just sat there, like, we know she's not married. we knew, definitely, that it was foul play. >> reporter: making that call on amanda's phone was a near miss in the case. leading authorities to within two blocks of his house. in 2003, the fbi was just starting to develop technology that could track a cell phone's location. >> the intelligence and the information we had indicated that amanda's phone was used in
about a 30, 40-block area. we spent about a week, around the clock, in that area, hoping that this phone would be used again. >> reporter: but castro didn't use that phone again and their one solid lead vanished into thin air. >> there were very good tips, very good leads that we had to follow up on and we did follow up on. but unfortunately, the tip that we needed just didn't come in. >> reporter: the weeks are slowly stretching into months when castro makes amanda a strange promise. >> he would always tell me when he got another girl in the house that, you know, i'm just looking for this, another girl, and then i will take you home. >> reporter: but amanda knows he's lying to her. she's seen michelle knight, locked in another room. though they've never spoken, she knows michelle is a prisoner, too. >> it was scary, because i didn't know if one day we were going to be murdered. when he felt like he was done or he wanted more girls in the house, like, what was he going to do to us? >> reporter: as the months pass by, amanda's mother is fighting to hold onto hope. her daughter's room unchanged
since her disappearance. amanda's christmas presents still unopened. four miles away, in the freezing cold of her room, amanda fills the empty hours by writing in a diary. hundreds of pages in notebooks, on napkins, and even on fast food bags. so, you get a bag like this, he'd bring something home. what would you do with it? >> there you go. >> reporter: voila. >> there's your paper. >> reporter: how many days cold you get into this? >> oh, that could last a good week, if you needed it to. >> reporter: amanda has been a prisoner for almost a year, when castro goes on the prowl again. hunting -- just five blocks away from the street where he kidnapped amanda. on this day, the young girl who catches his eye is 14. her name? gina dejesus. and she's one of his daughter's closest friends. >> he pulls over to me and then
i got in the car and then he would say, he's going to turn around. and he never turned around. >> reporter: gina dejesus is about to become castro's third victim. stay with us. technology is a living thing. it listens to us. [siri]: how may i help you? it shows us the way. it expands our minds. and gives us vision... where once we had none. this is how civilization moves forward. this - is how we get coffee. the 2016 corolla. technology on a whole other level. get 0.9% apr financing for 72 months on a 2016 corolla. offer ends may 2nd. for great deals on other toyotas, visit toyota.com toyota. let's go places.
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"20/20" saturday continues with "captive." once again, robin roberts. >> reporter: her spirit is in her smile. gina dejesus, age 14. the baby of the family. she loves to dance. i like you. now 26, she still has the sweetness of the 14-year-old girl she once was. what are words that describe what kind of 14-year-old you were? >> outgoing. i like t go outside and hang out with my friends. go skating. >> reporter: what dreams did you have for yourself?
>> i wanted to become a lawyer. >> reporter: why? >> i don't know, i think it was fun to win cases. >> reporter: gina grew up on the rough side of a hard town. the youngest child of three. she was a slow learner in special education classes. and from an early age, her mother, nancy ruiz, always taught her to be wary of strangers. but young gina was no match for ariel castro. tell us about that day. you were with his daughter? >> yes, arlene castro. >> reporter: did you have any idea what kind of man he was? >> no. i just knew -- i just knew that that was her father, and my dad was friends with him. >> reporter: gina is heading home from school with her friend arlene. and gives her some of her bus money to phone home. >> we were talking about what we wanted to do, because it was friday. and then, i was like, you could come over, and then, she asked her mom, and her mom said no.
she went the other way, and then, i went the other way. >> reporter: now short on bus fare, gina starts the long walk home, when, suddenly, that maroon suv pulls up at the curb. it's arlene's father. >> he asked me if you've seen my daughter? i said, yeah, she's right around the corner. and he was like, can you help me find her? and i said, "sure." >> reporter: when they arrive at the house, she invites her in. >> i was sitting there and he starts to, like, touch me and stuff. and then, i'm like, what are you doing? you could go to jail? and then he just switches up like, well, we're going -- you're going to go home now. he said, but you can't go through the same door you came in. he leads gina down into his basement. then grabs her and begins to chain her. >> reporter: he didn't make it tight enough, so i threw it over and then i tried to run, but he sat on my back. and then i just start kicking him. i -- i kicked him and i bruised him really bad.
as castro overpowers the tiny girl, she starts screaming for help. >> nobody could hear me. the radio was too loud. >> reporter: he always had that radio up, so the neighbors couldn't hear. >> he had two radios up. he had one in the basement and one in the living room. >> reporter: help was only two miles away, if gina's parents only knew where to start. >> i went searching everywhere. dumpsters, schools, empty buildings. >> reporter: the police feverishly search for clues, now suspecting that there is a serial criminal on the loose. >> by air, on ground, every inch of cleveland's west side under the microscope. >> reporter: for the first few weeks, gina is traumatized by castro's disturbing behavior. >> he would take my hair and like, put it in his mouth. i don't know why he did it but it was gross. >> reporter: when was the first time that he took advantage of you? >> may 7th. >> reporter: she still remembers
the exact date, but it's still too painful to say more. what are you comfortable in sharing in telling us about that? >> i'm not comfortable. >> reporter: during her first few days in captivity, gina watches stories about her own kidnapping. and begins to suspect that she is not castro's first victim. >> i kept watching the news after a while -- >> renewed hope that amanda berry will soon come home. >> -- and i was like, did you take amanda? and he was like, no, why would you think that? and i was like, because you took me. >> reporter: one month later, he admits the truth. allowing the girls to meet for the first time while watching their families on "america's most wanted." >> calling friends after friends, they said they did not see her. >> reporter: so, what was your initial feeling that, oh, my goodness, there's two others. and i'm not the only one in here. he's got three of us. >> there's something wrong with this man.
>> reporter: with three women now imprisoned in the house, each in separate rooms, castro seemed to be creating a strange polygamous version of his ideal family. what was the relationship like with you and him? >> i couldn't stand him. but i couldn't, like, show it all the time. i had to act like i -- like i liked him and we were friends. >> he deluded himself into thinking that he was leading a normal life with these women. he was providing for them. they had a little family, which is crazy, but that's the way he thought. >> reporter: at first, gina is castro's new favorite. >> he seemed to treat me better than the other gisrls. i wonder if he's kinder to me because i'm the new girl. and i wonder what happens when i'm not new anymore. >> reporter: as the new girl, gina learns about castro's rigid house rules. granting them freedom from their chains, only to clean the house. >> we had to use, like, a tiny drop of dish soap to wash, like, a full sink of dishes. >> we had to put the pan in the
center on the stove. >> like, it couldn't be a little to the left, a little to the right. >> reporter: castro used this calculated deprivation to drive the girls apart. when you have very little, you can become jealous. >> yeah. >> reporter: what were you jealous of? >> it could be from getting more food, less food, different clothes. i mean, it was just simple things, but -- when you don't have anything, you're like, why don't i have that? i want that. >> reporter: the girls were riding an emotional roller coaster when, suddenly, amanda drops a bombshell. she writes about it in her diary. >> i have a secret. a reason to fight. i think i'm pregnant. >> reporter: when we come back. g of my moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis... ordinary objects often seemed... intimidating. doing something simple... meant enduring a lot of pain. if ra is changing your view of everyday things orencia may help.
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"20/20" saturday continues with "captive." once again, robin roberts. >> reporter: three more years have passed in that house on seymour avenue, gina, amanda and michelle locked in a prison of frozen time. their posters are getting tattered. their school friends have graduated. what was the biggest part of you that you felt he took from you that you lost? >> a normal life. living life as a normal teenage girl. having birthdays, going to a
prom, having the fun times just as a regular teenager. >> reporter: still, they hold fast to the memories of their families' love. ironically, castro gives the girls this stencil. they trace the word "hope" to ward off despair. >> i got that when he went to a yard sale. i thought it was so random. >> reporter: what did it mean to you? >> it gave me hope to come home one day. >> reporter: their only window to the outside world is that black and white television. anybody that you watched on television that helped you get through the times? >> i watched oprah a lot. martha stewart for recipes and i watched you. >> reporter: you watched me. >> i remember during hurricane katrina, i saw everything that you went through. >> robin roberts is live -- >> reporter: my family had barely survived the hurricane's devastation. >> mom's okay, sister's okay? >> reporter: they're all right. i got to say, amanda, you never know who is watching. >> you never do.
>> reporter: and amanda is watching, when her mother app r appears on "the montel williams show" with psychic sylvia browne. >> i would watch her every time she was on there, and i'd say, i wish my mom would go on there. and then she could tell my mom that i was alive and that i'm okay. >> reporter: but sylvia browne breaks louwana's hope. >> i just hate this. she's not alive, honey. >> i just broke down crying because i couldn't believe she said that. and then, my mom broke down crying, so, that hurt even worse. >> reporter: two years later, amanda learns on a news report that her mother has passed. >> for three years louwanna miller fought hard to find amanda. >> i think that was the hardest part of being in there. she was always fighting. and she was never going to give up on me. and for her to get sick and i couldn't be there with her. i couldn't help her when she was sick. >> reporter: isolated by loss, sometimes amanda has only castro. >> so, he came in the room, and
i was just really sad, and i started talking to him, and he's like, everything is going to be be okay, everything's going to turn out all right. and so i asked him for a hug. and we hugged. >> reporter: there had to be a part of you that was thinking, "what in the world?" >> there was, but then there's another part of me, like, i needed that. i needed, like, a human, caring touch. instead of everything that he always did which was not caring. >> reporter: it is amanda's 20th birthday when hope makes an unexpected visit. >> i think i'm pregnant. i think my mom sent this baby. someone to help pull me through. i think she is sending me a miracle. >> reporter: it is early in the morning on christmas day, 2006. amanda berry is in labor. >> he went and got michelle. and he got this baby pool, because he didn't want, you
know, a mess on the bed, so -- >> reporter: she strips off her clothes and gets into that inflatable wading pool. >> michelle was like of just talking to me, like, you know, relax, calm down, you're okay. and he sat in the rocking chair right there just reading this book about, like, birth and stuff. >> reporter: just hours later, baby jocelyn emerges into her surreal world. what was it like for you, amanda, when you looked in her eyes for the first time? >> it was amazing, because she was so quiet. and she was just the most beautiful thing. >> reporter: you hear of rape victims who have a child. how do you just wrap your mind around it and make it work? >> you know, at first, that's what i was worried about. this is his kid, you know, how do i feel about that? and she resembled him a lot, and i would look at her and -- i
just felt like -- she's mine. she's mine. >> reporter: at first, castro's so afraid of raising questions, he buys no supplies for the baby. >> her first outfit was one of his socks and he cut out like two holes for her legs. and then he cut out another sock. and then he cut two arms out and it was like a little dress for her. >> reporter: from day one of jocelyn's life, amanda fights for normal in the most abnormal of places. she covers the doors over her windows with a bright shower curtain. she pastes the alphabet up on a wall. but as jocelyn grows older, it gets harder to hide the truth. >> reporter: does she see the chains on you? >> yeah. so, he starts to call them, like, bracelets, and she was
about 3 years old and he finally took the chains off. that was because of jocelyn. >> reporter: what was her relationship like with her father? >> normal. she loved him, and he loved her. >> reporter: though jocelyn is almost three before he consents to her first walk outside in the sun. >> she had never been to parks before and seen little kids like herself. >> reporter: one of the best times, when you looked out and you saw the sunlight on her face for the first time. >> it was the most beautiful thing, i just felt like, that's -- that's where she should always be. >> reporter: it's the beginning of a new chapter in jocelyn's life. going outside, attending sunday services. her room is now filled with toys. castro's love for jocelyn is turning him into a different man. >> he really didn't know what to do, because this adorable little girl saying, "i want to go outside and see the ice cream
man," "i want to go and see the snow." and the more she led him outside, kind of the more likely it was that his jail was going to one day burst apart. >> reporter: it is the summer of 2011. jocelyn is almost 5 years old, when, in a defiant act of hope, amanda creates an imaginary schoolhouse inside the prison of their tiny room. >> we would pretend, leave our house -- all of this in the same room, of course. >> reporter: so you're doing all this in the same room? >> yeah. i would tell her, okay, we're at a street now. so, you got to stop. then, you look both ways for cars, and then we can go across the street. okay, we're at school now. so, and then i'd sit her at her little desk and tell her, you have a good day at school now, mommy will be back later for you. >> reporter: they would travel together on that imaginary journey every day of jocelyn's kindergarten year.
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side dishes perfectly sauced or seasoned. what are you..? shh! i'm live tweeting. oh, boy. birds eye. so veggie good. "20/20" saturday continues with "captive." once again, robin roberts. >> reporter: though the house was a fortress, and the girls, for years, locked and chained, the question that many may ask is, why didn't they run? >> i thought about putting rat poison in his beans and then spraying, like, pine-sol in his eyes, but he was always a step
ahead of what i was doing. >> reporter: both girls admit there were opportunities that slipped away. once, when gina's friend arlene castro stopped by, he moved, and chained, all three girls in the basement. the three of you were in the basement and his daughter was right there. arlene was just ten feet away. >> yeah, we could hear them laughing and talking. >> reporter: still, they remained silent. did you think about, if we yell, she's right there, we're right there, possibly somebody -- she could hear you? >> there was always a chance, what if he killed everybody? >> reporter: the daily abuse was agonizing. but the unknown even more terrifying. >> every day was unpredictable. that was one of the hardest sports, because you never knew how he was going to act. >> reporter: what do you say to those people to make them understand? >> you never know until you're in that situation. what you're going to do, how you're going to react.
>> they dreamt of escaping. they dreamt of setting the house on fire. but if i get caught, i just can't bear anymore pain. and it -- they were frozen in fear. >> reporter: but on may 6th, 2013, courage came from the most unexpect of places. on that day, it is little jocelyn who sparks the great escape. >> she's like, mom, daddy's car is gone. my heart immediately started pounding, because, i'm like, should i chance it? if i'm going to do it, i need to do it now. >> reporter: amazingly she finds her bedroom door unlocked. in this is the one time that your room was not locked. >> never before in ten years has that happened. >> reporter: she races downstairs. the front door is open but beyond it, a second door, padlocked shut. still, amanda manages to squeeze out an arm. >> so, i'm just, like, waving my arm and, somebody, please, please help me, i'm amanda berry, please. >> reporter: she's too afraid to go back for gina and michelle.
>> i turn to michelle, like, we could run, but once michelle gets pumped, i talked her out of it. >> reporter: why did you talk her out of it? >> i thought that amanda got caught. >> reporter: outside, a neighbor sees amanda but is afraid to intervene. >> after i got to that locked door and the guy didn't help me, i was like, he's going to come home and this is just going to be the end. >> reporter: that's when charles ramsey shows up. >> i see this girl going nuts trying to get out of a house. i go on the porch, and she says, help me get out, i've been in here a long time. >> he kind of, like, started to pull on the door, but he couldn't get it open, either. and so, he kind of kicks it, and he's like, there you go, finish kicking it out and you can get out. >> reporter: with reckless courage, amanda kicks her way to freedom and emerges, clinging to her terrified daughter. this is a cell phone image of that moment of freedom. >> she comes out with a little girl, and she says, "call 911,
my name is amanda berry." >> help me, i'm amanda berry. i've been kidnapped and been missing for ten years. i'm here. i'm free now. >> reporter: were you still frightened that he may show up at any time? >> i was terrified. and just because there's people on the street doesn't mean that he, he wouldn't hurt me. >> reporter: why, after all this time, do you think he left that door open? >> i still don't know why he left that day with the door unlocked. i will never know. >> reporter: within minutes, the police start flooding the street. >> it was so unreal, because the cops just kept coming. >> my partner immediately asked her, you know, is there anybody else inside? and she said yes. gina dejesus and another girl. >> reporter: a neighbor captures the moment when the police storm the house. inside, gina and michelle cower in their room, afraid of castro's rage. >> and i'm like, oh, we're next, he's coming for us, so, close the door. they yelled "police" and
michelle swings the door open and just runs out there and hugs them. >> she jumped onto me, she's like, you saved us, you saved us and i'm holding onto her so tight. >> reporter: in tears, officer anthony espada looks up and sees gina. unrecognizable after losing 30 pounds. >> i just look at her, and i asked her, what's your name? she said, my name is georgina dejesus. >> we found them. we found them. >> reporter: lost, and finally found. the flashing lights blind their eyes accustomed only to darkness. >> once i saw that, i'm like, you know, this is it. i think we're free now. >> reporter: delivered at last from the shadows. their families wait with open arms. >> oh, my god, she's so skinny, buzz she was still beautiful. she had the biggest smile that she always had.
>> it was like a dream. i needed somebody to wake me up thank you, lord. you brought my baby back home. >> reporter: for amanda, gina and michelle, the endless nights of terror have finally come to an end. can you forgive ♪ there's no one i'd rather... share with. no one i'd rather have dinner and a movie with. no one i'd rather lean on. being in love is an amazing thing. being in love with your best friend... ...is everything.
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"20/20" saturday continues with "captive." once again, robin roberts. >> reporter: august 1st, 20134. ariel castro pleads guilty to 937 counts of kidnapping and rape. his sentence? live plus 1,000 years. but can gina and amanda forgive the man who stole their lives away? >> i think you have to forgive in order to move on with your life? >> reporter: can you forgive him? >> you know, i thought about that a lot. and, in this situation, i feel like, no, i could never forgive him. i mean, he took my mom from me. i'll never get to see her again.
>> reporter: just weeks into his sentence, castro hanged himself. >> i wish he wouldn't not killed himself because i wanted him to suffer. like we did. i think he took the easy way out. >> reporter: the house on seymour avenue has been demolished. torn down by the state to prevent it from becoming a morbid curiosity. it took less than one hour to erase a ten 10-year-old nightmare. you cried. >> i think it was, like, tears of happiness. everything bad that happened in that house, now it's gone. >> reporter: one item from those dark years, a thank you note, now seems prophetic. >> so, like, one day, i was going to get home and they were going to read this. thank you for not giving up on me. and it's because of your help that you're reading this, because that means i'm home. >> reporter: i think this is in part that brought you home.
and what about michelle knight? the third woman imprisoned in that house? >> we don't really keep in touch, but i just wish her the best. >> reporter: for amanda and gina, survival has sweetened the taste of freedom. and how is your life now? >> it's great. i can walk outside when i want. i can take my daughter to school. i can go to my friend's house. i can eat what i want. >> i'm going to school now. >> reporter: have you learned how to drive yet? >> yes. i have my license. >> i hope my daughter, she does good in school. and we just have a bright future, and see what comes. >> reporter: with the past now behind them. one last night. to the thousands of missing children out there, watching, searching, as gina and amanda did, for light in the darkness. and you don't know who is watching you right now, when we air this. what do you say to that person who is watching you right now? amanda looks straight into the
camera with this message of hope. >> never give up, because you will make it. your family, your friends will not give up, so you don't give up. ♪ i believe ♪ i believe ♪ i believe ♪ you believe anything is possible ♪ ♪ i believe ♪ i believe ♪ i believe ♪ i believe ♪ i believe anything is possible ♪ >> both gina and amanda have received honorary degrees from their high school and amanda says little jocelyn is excelling in school. >> their book, "hope," a memoir of survival in cleveland has just been released in paperback. if you think you have information about a missing or exploited child, contact 1-800-the lost. thank you so much for watching tonight. i'm elizabeth vargas. >> and i'm david muir. elizabeth and i will see you right back here for "20/20" next friday. until then, have a great week ahead. after an 11th hour decision, 200 bay area students are looking
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