Neighbor tells of role in discovery of missing women

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NBC News – Neighbor Charles Ramsey has told how he heard screams coming from an Ohio home and went to investigate — a decision that led to the discovery of three women missing for years.

To the neighbors, the house on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland seemed normal. There was nothing to indicate that inside — in addition to the resident they had come to know — were women who had disappeared in separate cases about a decade ago.

That changed on Monday.

“This girl is kicking the door and screaming,” Ramsey 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.'”

Ramsey, who lived across the street and let the woman use his phone to call 911, described being stunned when he realized that the woman was Amanda Berry, who had been missing for 10 years.

Ramsey told reporters he he had barbecued with the 52-year-old man who lived in the house. Police said that the man and two of his brothers, ages 50 and 54, had been arrested.

There were more surprises to come for Ramsey, other neighbors and the police. Also found in the house were Gina DeJesus, 23, who had been missing for nine years, and Michelle Knight, 30, who had been missing for 11 years.

Neighbor Mike Iwais, who has lived for years in a house just a couple of hundred feet from where the women were found, told The Plain Dealer newspaper of his shock.

“I used to see him walking around all the time,” the paper quoted him as saying. “But I never saw nothing crazy. This is unbelievable. It’s a miracle they found him, and it’s a miracle those girls are alive. It’s a blessing from God.”

Another neighbor, Victor Pratts, told the newspaper that he had lived on the street for 25 years and would occasionally ride a four-wheeler with the suspect. He said he never saw any sign of the women.

“We never thought that man would do anything to anybody,” Pratts told The Plain Dealer. “He was a bus driver.”

Several news outlets said the 52-year-old suspect had driven a bus for Cleveland schools.

Jannette Gomez, 50, who told The Plain Dealer that she frequently visited family and friends on the street, told the paper that the man didn’t converse with her. He would return a greeting but leave it at that.

She said the suspect would park his motorcycle or pickup behind the house, lock the gate and go inside through a back door.  She said the house was dark, with shades closed and a window boarded up.

Most could hardly believe the news.

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