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Ohio


Cleveland abductions: Berry may have saved lives
Other noon headlines: Timken shareholder vote to split, election day, Race to the Top
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
Cleveland Police Chief Mike McGrath
Courtesy of BRIAN BULL/WCPN
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In The Region:
  • Pieces emerge, but lots of unanswered questions remain in Cleveland abductions
  • Timken shareholders vote to divide the company
  • Primary election day in Ohio
  • Progress in Race to the Top 
  • Lots of unanswered questions in Cleveland abductions
    Police say they – as well as the public -- have lots of questions now that three women have been rescued from a west Cleveland house where they apparently were held captive for more than a decade.

    SCHULTZE: Cleveland abduction updates
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    Police say the first sign of trouble anyone recognized at a frame house on Cleveland’s  near west side was shortly before 6 Monday night, when Amanda Berry’s arm flailed through the front screen door and she called to neighbors for help.

    The now 27-year-old woman had been missing for 10 years.  After she escaped, police found two other women inside, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus, both missing since the early 2000s.

    At a press conference this morning, Police Chief Michael McGrath says Berry may have saved them all.

    “Thankfully, and I mean thankfully, due to Amanda’s brave actions, these three women are alive today.”

    Three men, all brothers in their 50s -- Ariel, Pedro and Onil Castro -- have been arrested. Deputy Chief Ed Tomba says police are pursuing charges, but the needs of the women come first.

    “Right now, we want to let them spend some time with their family and take this process very, very, very slow and respectful to their families and to the young girls’ needs.”

    Police say they also found a 6-year-old girl in the house, and they continue to try to figure out why the women went undetected for so long.

    Here’s the timeline of the case of three Cleveland women who vanished from their near west-side neighborhood a decade ago and were found Monday in a home some two miles away.

    • Aug. 23, 2002: Michelle Knight disappears from her cousin’s house near W. 106th Street and Lorain Avenue.  She’s legally an adult, and police speculate that she left because she’d lost temporary custody of her son. Her mother never believed that.
    • April 21, 2003: 16-year-old Amanda Berry never returns  from work at a Burger King on Lorain and West 110th Street. Her mother, Louwana Miller, begins a search for her daughter that ends only when the 44-year-old Louwana dies in 2006.
    • January 2004: Ariel Castro is a school bus driver. Police go to his home at 2207 Seymour Ave. after Child and Family Services tells them he had left a child unattended on a bus. Police decide there was no criminal intent.
    • April 2, 2004: Georgina "Gina" DeJesus, 14, disappears while walking home from Wilbur Wright Middle School where she attended special education classes. She’s last seen at the corner of Lorain Avenue and 105th Street.
    • 2005: Police and FBI agents continue the investigation, offering a $20,000 reward for details that lead to discovery of DeJesus or Berry.
    • April 2009: The FBI broadens its investigation to include another girl, 14-year-old Ashley Summers, who had disappeared in 2007.  She later contacts her family.
    • Police also test the DNA on a body found in Wisconsin.
    • January 2013: Convicted killer and inmate Robert Wolford is sentenced to 4 ½ years on of obstruction of justice and other charges. He gave police a false tip that said Berry’s body was buried on a vacant lot in Cleveland. Police spent 18 hours searching the lot.
    • May 6, 2013: Berry breaks through a screen door of the house on Seymour with the help of neighbors and escapes with a 6-year-old girl she identifies on the 9-1-1 call as her daughter. Police respond and find Knight and  DeJesus inside.
    • Three brothers, Ariel Castro, Pedro Castro and Onil Castro, are arrested and police are preparing charges and expecting the case to go to the Cuyahoga County grand jury.
    • May 7, 2013: The women, Berry, now 27; DeJesus, now 23, and Michelle Knight, believed to be 32, are released from MetroHealth Medical Center.

     

    Timken shareholders vote to divide the company
    The shareholders of one of northeast Ohio’s oldest companies have voted to split it into two. At this morning’s annual meeting, more than 53 percent of the shares of the Timken Co. went in favor of spinning off the steel operation from the bearings business.

    The break up was pushed by California teachers’ pension fund and a group called Relational Investors. They argued that the stock value of the combined company is too low, and that the steel part of the business has outgrown the bearings’. Company management and the United Steelworkers opposed the split.

    The vote is legally nonbinding, but Timken CEO James Griffith says the board will decide what it needs to do next within 45 days.

    Primary election day in Ohio
    Today is primary election day in Ohio, and the polls are open until 7:30. Seventy-four counties have issues and partisan primaries on the ballot, including close to 150 school levies and bond issues. And in Youngstown, voters are deciding whether to ban fracking in the city. Opponents of the measure say regardless of the vote, it will be nonbinding because state law preempts local laws when it comes to oil and gas drilling.

    Progress in Race to the Top
    Ohio has issued a two-year progress report on its Race to the Top goals. It says the state has boosted its graduation rate by 1.7 percent at schools participating in the federal program, and that it has closed the racial gap in graduation rates. The Race to the Top schools also increased math scores among lower-income students and increased eighth-grade math proficiency scores.  

    Ohio was awarded $400 million in federal Race to the Top money 2010, one of 11 states to get the competitive grants.

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