CHICAGO - Three young women who had been missing for a decade - two of whom disappeared as teenagers - were found alive in a house in Cleveland, police in the US state of Ohio said Monday.
The dramatic discovery drew hundreds of cheering people to the usually quiet, residential street to celebrate that girls, long feared dead, were very much alive.
The details of the trauma they may have suffered in captivity were not yet known, but it appeared that at least one of the girls had borne a child during her captivity.
The nightmare ended when Amanda Berry reached her arm through a crack in the front door and called for help.
"I heard screaming... And I see this girl going nuts trying to get outside of the house," Charles Ramsey told the local ABC news affiliate.
"I go on the porch, and she said 'Help me get out. I've been here a long time.'"
Ramsey said he tried to get her out through the door but could not pull it open, so he kicked out the bottom and she crawled through "carrying a little girl."
Berry went into a neighbouring home and called police, begging them to come as soon as they could "before he gets back."
"I'm Amanda Berry. I've been kidnapped. I've been missing for 10 years. I'm free. I'm here now," Berry said in the recording of her frantic call to 911.
She told the dispatcher that the man who had held her captive was called Ariel Castro. When police arrived she told them there were other captives in the home.
"All three women, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight, seem to be in good health," Cleveland police said in a statement.
"A 52-year-old Hispanic male has been placed under arrest regarding this incident."