Charles Ramsey was having an average Monday in his neighborhood south of downtown Cleveland when he heard a neighbor next door screaming for help.
Thinking it had something to do with a domestic dispute, Ramsey asked: “Can I help? What’s going on?”
In his neighbor’s home on Seymour Avenue, Ramsey discovered three women who had been held captive for a decade.
"This girl is kicking the door and screaming," he told NBC station WKYC-TV. "So I go over there ... and I say, 'Can I help? What’s going on?' And she says, 'I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been in this house a long time. I want to leave right now.'"
It wasn’t until he was calling 911 that Ramsey realized the woman was Amanda Berry, a girl who went missing 10 years earlier.
Three women and a 6-year-old child were taken from the home to the hospital for health checks. Kidnapped in 2002, Michelle Knight, 32, had been missing for 11 years. Amanda Berry, now 27, went missing on April 21, 2003, the day before her 17th birthday. Gina DeJesus was kidnapped at age 14 and had been held captive for nine years. The relationship of the child found in the house to the women was not disclosed.
Ramsey was stunned that his neighbor had been so brazen. He said there was no indication anyone else lived there other than 52-year-old Ariel Castro. Neighbors had seen him walking with the child around the neighborhood. When asked who the child was, Castro said it was his girlfriend’s child.
"I barbecue with this dude," Ramsey said. "We eat ribs and what not, listen to salsa music, you see where I'm coming from? Not a clue that that girl was in that house, or anybody else was in there against their will."
He was astonished when police responded to the call and found more people in the house.
Police Chief Michael McGrath said he thinks Berry, DeJesus and Knight were tied up at the house and held in the house. Castro and two of his brothers, aged 50 and 54, were arrested. As of Tuesday morning, they had not yet been charged.
Ramsey said there was “nothing exciting” about Castro and there was no reason to suspect anything was wrong at the house.
“I knew something was wrong when a little, pretty white girl ran into a black man's arms,” he told reporters. “Something is wrong here. Dead give away.”