US authorities have charged a 52-year-old man with the kidnap and rape of three women, rescued from his Cleveland home after a 10-year ordeal. The suspect's brothers, originally arrested in the case, were not charged.
Ariel Castro was charged on Wednesday with the kidnap and rape of 27-year-old Berry, 23-year-old Gina DeJesus and 32-year-old Michelle Knight, who were held in his home for nearly ten years.
Castro was also charged the kidnap of Berry's six-year-old daughter Jocelyn, who was born in captivity.
The Cleveland bus driver was arrested on Monday evening hours after the women escaped from his home. His brothers - Pedro, 54, and Onil, 50 - were with him at the time of the arrest and were also detained. Prosecutors said Wednesday there was no evidence linking them to crimes against the girls and they would therefore not be charged.
Berry, DeJesus and Knight went missing on separate occasions between 2002 and 2004. They managed to escape after Berry alerted a neighbor to their presence in the home.
Two of the women, Berry and DeJesus, returned to their families' homes for the first time on Wednesday. The third, Knight, remains in a Cleveland hospital where she is said to be in a good condition.
'Only opportunity to escape'
Police revealed Wednesday that the women had only been able to leave the home briefly on two occasions during their decade in captivity to go "into the garage in disguise." According to Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba, Monday had been the first opportunity the women had found to escape.
"The only opportunity, after interviewing the young ladies, to escape was the other day when Amanda escaped," Tomba told reports at news conference in Cleveland.
"They don't believe that they've been outside that home for the last 10 years respectively," he said.
"They were not in one room, but they did know each other and they did know each other was there," he added.
He refused to comment on reports that the women had become pregnant on several occasions and had suffered miscarriages. He also refused to discuss earlier reports from city police chief Michael McGrath that evidence of ropes and chains used to detain the women were found in Castro's home.
Ariel Castro is due to be arraigned on Thursday morning.
ccp/ipj (Reuters, AFP)