News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Lehmans

Meaden & Moore

Levin Furniture


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Courts and Crime


One year later, Seymour Avenue has moved on without its infamous neighbor
Life is somewhat back to normal on the street where Ariel Castro held three women for a decade
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
Charles Ramsey (right) and Randy Nyerges co-authored "Dead Giveaway," about Ramsey's life before and after the Seymour Avenue rescue. Ramsey says he's already working on several other books on other topics
Courtesy of K. Bhatia
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
It’s been one year since three women were freed from a decade-long nightmare at the hands of a west-side Cleveland man. And while Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight and Amanda Berry have changed a lot in the past 12 months, locals say the neighborhood where Ariel Castro held them is back to normal. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports.
One year later, Seymour Avenue has moved on without its infamous neighbor

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:31)


“The girls could tell what day it was because they could hear our church bells chiming and the carillons playing the carols.”

Diane Dragunas attends Immanuel Lutheran Church. The small, century-old congregation on Cleveland’s west side is in the heart of what once was a largely German neighborhood. Rosemary Irizarry from Parma says there used to be much more outreach back then.

“Go door-to-door, try to get the kids into vacation Bible classes, and also church itself. Just visiting. See, they don’t do this anymore.”

That was 40 years ago. Then, her family – and many of the Lutherans in the neighborhood -- started to move out. Rosemary’s daughter, Ann Feeney, explains the situation today.

“It’s hard for our church, being a Lutheran church in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, to do well. Plus, if you’re African-American, you’re going to be Baptist more or less.”

Shock on the block
Feeney says everyone was shocked at what happened in the early evening of last May 6th: three women, abused and held captive for a decade, had been found in Ariel Castro’s home on Seymour Avenue, a quiet street filled with working-class, mostly pre-War single-family homes.

“Since it happened, I told my daughter I don’t like her going in the parking lot by herself. Because she wants to go sit in the parking lot and be on her iPod touch. If we would have known, we could have stormed that house and took care of it. But how did anybody know?”

That’s the question the neighborhood was asking itself last May. Interim Pastor Dennis Schmidt started at Immanuel Lutheran soon after.

“I was told that when they discovered the women, there was a lot of embarrassment here. ‘How in the world, could this be going on for 10 years and we didn’t know it?’ And all the anger. I think if I lived here, I would want to just put it out of my mind.”

Hans Horstmann attends Immanuel Lutheran, and he agrees.

“You didn’t see anything that was out of the ordinary. And you don’t pay attention to an empty house because of all of the foreclosures that are going on. So if you had seen something or heard something, you could do something about it.”

What has changed
Today, the street looks much the same, except Castro’s home has been demolished and replaced by a park. Luis Francisco lives across the street.

“Now, people are taking more care of their kids. Nobody letting nobody alone by themselves. Cause he was somebody that was a normal guy, doing stuff like that. Everybody's worried about everybody else. We learned from everything that happened: just be careful with everybody around you. Don’t trust nobody.”

Francisco says the neighborhood was quiet – before and after – except for the period last summer when news vans and satellite trucks choked traffic and blocked streets.

A lesson for everyone
Charles Ramsey lived in the neighborhood then. He’s the one who heard Amanda Berry yelling from Ariel Castro’s boarded-up front door, helped free her and then called the police.

“[The news coverage] wasn’t enough. I know the story went global, but it was so horrendous that I think it should have been aired on Neptune, Jupiter [and] Pluto.”

Today, he’s published a book, “Dead Giveaway,” about his life and last year of extraordinary fame.

“I go past Seymour every morning. Sometimes I even go down Seymour, just to see what’s going on. And the only thing that’s going on is people trying to get along with their lives.”

Ramsey agrees that the neighborhood is pretty much back to the way it was before last May 6th – physically and emotionally. So much so, in fact, that he moved, saying his newfound fame could have made him a target for robberies.

Since last May, Michelle Knight has changed her name. Knight has written a book; Berry and DeJesus are coauthoring another. Ariel Castro pleaded guilty and was found hanged in his cell last summer, just one month into his 1,000-year prison sentence.

Charles Ramsey -- Chuck to his friends -- will be signing copies of his book at Barnes & Noble: Friday May 9, 7-8 p.m. (7900 Mentor Ave., Mentor) and Saturday May 17, 1-3 p.m. (28801 Chagrin Blvd., Eton Collection, Beachwood)
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Three exonerated of murder convictions from 18 years ago
Thanks heavens that none of them have been condemned to death. This alons should convince the USA to join the civilized world by abolishing the death penalty. E...

Kombucha: a sweet business brewed with fermented tea
Stevia is not an artificial sweetener. It is a plant. I have one growing in my sunroom. The leaves are dried and added to teas. It's harvested commercially and...

Bringing back ballet in Cleveland
I do think Ballet in Cleveland is doing good things, but the fact that director says "When we have flourishing companies like the New York City Ballet and the A...

Report confirms some Vietnam veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange
was in nam 1969 exposed va stated lost medical records was in lawsuit from 197? till settled 0 $ 2010 ? said all nam vets will get back disability till 198? jus...

Mentorship grant program redefines "faith-based" provision
Can't anyone have values, beliefs, and morals anymore? How is it anymore unconstitutional for a school partner with a "faith-based" organization than any other ...

Exploradio: The challenge of finding a healthy balance with technology
Thank you, Jeff, for another well done Exploradio. I always learn something interesting about what is happening in NE Ohio.

Northeast Ohio's transgender community rallies around restroom issue
A good first step would be for Cleveland to require restaurants to have a public restroom. Cleveland is the only city I've ever been in where restaurants somet...

Vapor shops say tobacco tax hikes could hit them hard
Maybe you should be DOING a study, since every time you've tried to villianize them all that's happened was the opposite. I'm not a fan of alcohol that's flavor...

New law gives access to birth records to Ohio adoptees
Can siblings also look for their missing brother or sister? And how do we go about it?

Ida McKinley's tiara comes home, with the help of "Pawn Stars"
I donated to the fund to keep the tiara at the museum where I believe it belongs. I took my 16 year old granddaughter to the showing I dont think it will be som...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University