Families celebrate return of missing US women

8 May 2013

Families of the three young women who were missing for about 10 years and were found on Monday have been celebrating their return. Like Amanda Berry, the disappearance of Gina DeJesus was well known in Cleveland. According to an uncle of the Castro brothers, the two families “grew up together”. For Gina’s relatives and friends, the questions will come later. This was a time for welcoming home the girl who vanished aged 14 – and is now 23. “I’m happy that these children were found alive. These stories don’t end up like this all the time. And for this to end up like this, it’s nothing but a blessing,” said Patricia Branche, a neighbour of the DeJesus family. Bus driver Ariel Castro owned the house where the girls were apparently held captive. He played bass in Latin music bands in the area. Gina’s uncle Tito DeJesus was a fellow musician in the same bands over a period of 20 years.. “He doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would do something like this – especially for 10 years, right under your nose. Wow. It’s heartbreaking, actually.” Tito DeJesus said he had visited Castro’s house and noticed little out of the ordinary, although it had very little furniture and was filled with musical instruments. Others too who knew the brothers are coming forward. Juan Alicea, whose brother-in-law Onil Castro is one of the suspects, also knew Ariel. “Ariel had a way of presenting himself as one person and, from what we’re seeing, he was a totally different human being. But never, you know, never flipped,” he said. A police video has emerged showing Ariel Castro being questioned over motorbike irregularities five years ago. Detectives will now be setting about interviewing him again, along with his two brothers, about the alleged decade-long abduction of three young women.