Amanda Berry was held captive by Ariel Castro in Cleveland, Ohio for about 10 years before she escaped to free herself, her young daughter and two other women, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus. Now, she is an advocate for missing people.
She disappeared one day before her 17th birthday on April 21, 2003. Each of the women knew captor Ariel Castro as the father of one of their friends, Arlene Castro, who lived with her mother.
Berry is now 33 years old. She is an author, speaker and mother to her 13-year-old daughter, Jocelyn.
Here’s what you need to know:
Amanda Berry Works for a Cleveland Area News Station to Help Find Missing People
Amanda Berry joined the Fox 8 Cleveland team to host its missing persons segment, “Missing,” in February 2017. The daily segment features Berry reading the details and descriptions surrounding the disappearance of a person missing from Northeast Ohio. She also details how to help rescue efforts in each case, according to the news station.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the Fox 8 News team for this important segment. When I was missing, the people who were looking for me never gave up. My wish is that this segment will not only help find those who are missing but offer hope for the loved ones who are looking for them,” she said in a story announcing her hire.
The segments air on FOX 8 News at 6 a.m., 8 a.m., noon, 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. daily.
Amanda Berry Is Raising Her 13-year-old Daughter, Who Was Born in Captivity
Amanda Berry realized she might be pregnant with her captor’s child on her 20th birthday, according to ABC News. She gave birth to her daughter, Jocelyn, on Christmas Day, 2006, according to ABC News.
Berry did everything she could to give her daughter a normal life. She spoke at Cleveland’s Global Center for Health Innovation about how she raised her daughter in captivity, according to News 5 Cleveland. The event was a luncheon benefit for The Centers for Families and Children. The topic was the importance of early learning. Sometimes the little girl was allowed to play in the backyard. Castro told neighbor Charles Ramsey the girl was his granddaughter.
While in captivity, Berry taught her daughter the alphabet, shapes and colors and basic math while they were being held against their will. After they escaped, Jocelyn entered the 1st grade and her reading levels were above average.
“I just wanted her to know that when she got out that she was going to be as normal as any kid in the classroom,” Berry said, according to the news station.
Amanda Berry & Charles Ramsey Reunited In 2019
Amanda Berry risked her life to save herself, her daughter and two other women when she learned her captor, Ariel Castro, had left the Cleveland house with her bedroom door unlocked May 6, 2013. It may have been in vain without help from Charles Ramsey. He heard her pounding on a padlocked screen door, which would only open enough to put her arm through. Ramsey broke the door and helped her and Berry’s daughter, Jocelyn, escape and call 911.
The two never saw each other again until April 2019 when they reunited, according to Fox 8 Cleveland.
“My baby,” he said, embracing her tightly on his doorstep. “How are you? You’re cold. Come on, get in here.”
Ramsey told Berry people often call him a hero and commend him, but he said he tells them Berry is the hero because she fought for a decade and survived, then found a way to escape.
“I don’t care how many years it took. You knew how to play it. That’s what makes you the hero,” he told Berry.
Ramsey said others were outside when he heard pounding, and they did nothing. You can watch his original news interview here.
In her conversation with Ramsey, Berry questioned whether getting through the door may have been possible without outside help. He told her the door was set in a way that made it impossible to escape.
“To pull that off, and to keep it going that long, you’re not an idiot,” he said of Castro.
They chatted about questions Ramsey would ask Castro, like when he saw Jocelyn in the backyard and was told the little girl was Castro’s granddaughter. He said he was sure he heard a child crying and commotion at times, but no one else confirmed the sounds and Castro always had explanations.
“I was there for 10 years, and I always wondered when would I come home,” she said, crying. “And if it wasn’t for you I don’t know if I still wouldn’t be home, so thank you.”
“You don’t have to worry about nothing,” Ramsey told her. “I’m telling you, I got you.”
Amanda Berry & Gina DeJesus Wrote a Memoir About Their Capture, Survival & Their Lives Today
Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus shared their stories in a book, Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland, which was published in April 2015. The book became a No. 1 New York Times Bestseller.
“The most inspiring part of the Amanda Berry story is that she created a little school in the house on Seymour Avenue,” Mary Jordan told News 5 Cleveland. Jordan and Kevin Sullivan were Washington Post journalists who helped Berry and DeJesus write their book.
“Drawing upon their recollections and the diary kept by Amanda Berry, Berry and Gina DeJesus describe a tale of unimaginable torment, and Pulitzer Prize–winning Washington Post reporters Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan interweave the events within Castro’s house with original reporting on efforts to find the missing girls,” the book’s description says. “The full story behind the headlines—including details never previously released on Castro’s life and motivations—Hope is a harrowing yet inspiring chronicle of two women whose courage, ingenuity, and resourcefulness ultimately delivered them back to their lives and families.”