Ariel Castro, who spent a decade tormenting three women he kidnapped off the streets of Cleveland, Ohio, killed himself rather than rot in prison, but now the three brave women who escaped his hell hole are having their entire story told for the first time in a new book. Alan Hall, a veteran true crime writer, narrates the girls' ten years of captivity in Captive: One House, Three Women and Ten Years in Hell. In it, he says that it was actually Amanda Berry's daughter, 7-year-old Jocelyn, who is responsible for the women finally escaping to freedom.
Every day for over ten years, Ariel was careful to keep the women not only tightly locked inside of the house, but also locked in separate bedrooms away from each other.
But as Jocelyn, who was fathered by Castro, got older, she began begging her father to keep the doors open. Castro, if he ever had a soft spot for anyone, apparently had one for Jocelyn. According to the book, he treated her like a "princess." She was also the only one in the house to be able to leave it -- with him, of course.
Though Jocelyn never told anyone outside of the house about her life, and it was all she ever knew, Hall claims that Jocelyn began to piece together that her life wasn't normal -- and that she and her mother and the other women in the house, Gina De Jesus and Michelle Knight, were being held against their will.
On the fateful day they were rescued, Castro gave in to Jocelyn's request to leave the inside doors open.
It was Jocelyn who walked Castro out of the house that day and saw that he didn't lock the outside door. When he left, Jocelyn ran upstairs to tell her mother and the others the door was open and that "daddy has gone to Grandma's."
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The women were afraid to move -- they had been tricked into trying to leave before, only to have Castro beat them mercilessly.
But this day, Amanda was emboldened. She crept downstairs and saw a shaft of light where the door had opened slightly. A police officer told Hall:
Castro probably wishes he had never fathered that child in some ways. It gave Amanda a reason to live and a reason to hope. She would have been as zombified as the others, were it not for her daughter. Castro thought he was master of everything but not even his cunning could factor in simple human bonds like that between a mother and a daughter. He was a monster -- and a fool.
Amanda screwed up her courage to open the door and then walk onto the porch, where she began to bang on the screen door and scream, drawing the attention of neighbors who came to her rescue.
Sounds like a very harrowing read. Keep in mind this is not the book that the women themselves will write -- Amanda and Gina are reportedly working on one together -- so you may want to save your money for that one.
But it doesn't surprise me that Amanda's bond with her daughter is what finally got them out of that house.
Will you read about their story?
Image via Penguin