Three brothers accused of kidnapping Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight in Cleveland are likely to be charged today, according to the city’s police chief, Michael McGrath:
Interviewed on NBC’s “Today” show, McGrath said police found ropes and chains inside the ramshackle house on Cleveland’s west side from which Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were rescued Monday night, along with Berry’s six-year-old daughter.
“We have confirmed that they were bound,” McGrath said. He said investigators believe the women were kept hidden inside the house and only occasionally allowed into the backyard during what appears to have been years of captivity.
McGrath said prosecutors will decide whether to charge all three brothers — Ariel Castro, 52, who lived in the house on Seymour Avenue; and Pedro Castro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50, who lived a few blocks away. He said officials are likely to brief reporters on developments in the case Wednesday afternoon or evening. (Read the full article here.)
One of the neighbors who helped Berry escape the house and alert police was Charles Ramsey, who, Bethonie Butler writes, “has emerged as a familiar if, exasperating, brand of Internet celebrity”:
Ramsey’s exchanges with the media are blunt — uncensored, even — and funny. You could find yourself laughing and rolling your eyes at the same time . . .
Ramsey has drawn comparisons to other Internet celebrities like Antoine Dodson, whose 2010 interview with an NBC affiliate led to the “Bed Intruder Song,” Dodson’s auto-tuned recount of how he fought off an intruder who attempted to rape his sister in their Huntsville, Ala., project. “Hide yo kids. Hide yo wife,” he sang.
Dodson’s interview — and his resulting fame — was controversial. Post staff writer Philip Kennicott wrote that the song had “attracted considerable criticism for seeming to mock African American speech patterns and the poverty of ghetto life.” After watching the original interview, The Post’s Jonathan Capehart acknowledged “Dodson’s cringe-inducing performance,” but cautioned would-be critics to “put aside our judgements and remember that we don’t know Dodson, his family or their story.”
Here’s what we know about Ramsey. He’s being hailed a hero for his role in the rescue. In addition to helping Berry slip through an obstructed front door, Ramsey placed a call to 911 that was as spirited as his interviews. Oh, and he likes McDonalds. (Read more about Ramsey here.)
The Post’s editorial board applauds Ramsey for being a good citizen:
Mr. Ramsey, in an interview with a local TV station, said that he believed he was intervening in a case of domestic violence. Good for him to take seriously a woman’s call for help.
Guest columnist Connie Schultz writes that as residents of Cleveland celebrate, they are remembering another case in which several women disappeared that did not end happily:
In the fall of 2009, Cleveland police found the bodies of 11 African-American women buried on the other side of town, at the home of convicted sexual predator Anthony Sowell. This was no ordinary crime scene, and our town was overrun by national and international media as the story unfolded in horrifying detail over several days.
Two women were buried in the basement. Five were buried in Sowell’s back yard. Four bodies were found in the third-floor sitting room near Sowell’s bedroom.
As I wrote at the time for The Plain Dealer, neighbors had complained for nearly two years about the stench. The city flushed drainpipes and replaced the sewer line, but the stink persisted. Some residents tried to blame the sausage shop next door, but employees there also complained about the smell. (Read the rest of her column here.)