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Courts and Crime

Regina Brett reflects on Amanda Berry's missing reunion
Amanda Berry's mother, Louwana Miller, did not live to be reunited with her missing daughter, but she died trying

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Jeff St. Clair
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In The Region:

Regina Brett is a columnist with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and a weekly host on WKSU.  For the past decade, Brett has reported on the disappearances of Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, and the impact it had on their families. 

She tells WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair that the discovery Monday of Berry alive and healthy, along with two other missing women, is a cause for celebration that came too late for the one who missed Amanda Berry the most.

ST. CLAIR: Reunion comes too late for some

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Like most of us, columnist Regina Brett has more questions than answers as to how the three women lived -  imprisoned inside a house on Cleveland’s West Side.  Brett’s Plain Dealer columns during the past decade shared the turmoil the disappearances wreaked on the families, some of whom are now reunited, healing, and presumably, making up for lost time.

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. 

Related WKSU Stories

Cleveland abduction case leaves more questions than answers
Wednesday, May 8, 2013

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