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.

The Holden Arboretum

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.


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

From warehouse to writer: Terry Pluto's Thanksgiving thank you
Dear Terry: On my 8th cup of coffee trying to get Thanksgiving "Brunch" done ahead of time because I work nights. However, I just had to stop to contact yo...

The first big private gift comes in for the pro football HOF project
The HOF has needed a shot in the arm for many years and this project will go a long way to getting the attraction the attention it deserves (next: upgrad...

Environmental study nears completion in East Liverpool
Twenty years ago my twin sister and I protested the building and operation of the WTI facility citing several studies that indicated the risk of cancer due to ...

HOF's Canton expansion could take an island and make it a village
I live in the block from Broad St to the Hall of Fame and will be impacted by the expansion. I am in the process of selling my home and planned to long before i...

Cleveland redeploys police to replace rejected red-light traffic cameras
Periodic rotational enforcement without warning does NOT change behavior and the city officials know that. This is the basis of all officer-run enforcement trap...

New enrollment period offers more insurance options
The removal of federal funding for healthcare CO-OPs may limit the growth of the CO-OP movement. http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=6381

The family of Boardman vet killed in Vietnam receives his medals
My name is Mike Eisenbraun. I am Larry's brother. I was 14 years old when Larry was killed in Vietnam. He has been gone for 46 years but it seems like yester...

Cleveland seniors are creating new wealth -- and facing new challenges
Why is anyone surprised that we people over 65 are not retiring? If you have been paying attention, defined company funded pensions were phasing out in the eigh...

Ohio company cuts off a dairy supplier after allegations of animal abuse
these people should be held accountable for their actions. i would be more than pleased to see a year or more behind bars. i will NEVER eat anything that comes ...

Copyright © 2014 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