Nightly News   |  May 08, 2013

Kidnapped women went outside twice in 10 years

In the Cleveland house where they were held for years on end, the three kidnapped women either remained chained in the basement or lived upstairs. Ariel Castro, who has been charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape, reportedly kept the doors locked. On the rare occasion that the women did go outside, they were heavily disguised, according to police. NBC’s Ron Allen reports.

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>>> good evening. since news of this strange story in cleveland first broke, people across this country, around the world for that matter, have wondered how could anyone have possibly pulled this off, imprisoned three young women for upwards of a decade. thanks to a police briefing in cleveland we just learned a lot more about what investigators say life was like in that house now that these human prisoners have been freed. it's where we begin again tonight. nbc's ron allen standing by in cleveland . ron, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian . late today 52-year-old ariel castro was charged with kidnapping and rape. his brothers who were also arrested were not charged. prosecutors said there was not enough evidence against them. in the neighborhoods we are outside the home of one of the victimses, gina dejesus. a jubilant day, a time to breathe a big sigh of relief as she finally came home. [ cheers and applause ]

>> reporter: on a brilliant afternoon a scene many feared would never happen. gina dejesus returned home, her face hidden but with a big thumbs-up as family, friends and neighbors cheered all around her.

>> i never gave up. never gave up searching for her.

>> reporter: just hours earlier another reunion. amanda berry, the woman who bravely led the escape from the alleged captors monday evening with her 6-year-old daughter. berry's sister spoke for the family.

>> i just want to say we are so happy to have amanda and her daughter home. i want to thank the public and the media for their support and encourage over the years.

>> reporter: meanwhile michele night remains hospitalized in good condition. late this afternoon, police announced charges in the case.

>> i just signed criminal complaints charging ariel castro with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. the seven criminal complaints are first degree felonies. as it relates to pedro and onil castro , no charges will be filed against these individuals at this time. there is no evidence that these two individuals had any involvement in the commission of the crimes committed.

>> reporter: the police report obtained by nbc station wkyc indicates living conditions for the women. all three stated ariel chained them in the basement but did free them to let them live upstairs. that ariel kept the doors locked and did not let them out. if they were allowed outside they had to be heavily disguised and police say outside trips were rare.

>> there is no evidence to indicate that any of them were ever outside in the yard in chains without clothing or any other manner. in fact, i think the evidence we have obtained thus far indicates in the last decade they have only known themselves to be outside the home on two separate occasions and that was only briefly.

>> reporter: according to the police report the victims reported multiple pregnancies, rapes and miscarriages. police would not elaborate today. meanwhile, investigators continued to collect evidence at the house on seymour, a home county records show is a modest two-story colonial with four bedrooms, an attic and a large unfinished basement.

>> we are sorry for their pain.

>> reporter: from the suspect's family today, an apology.

>> we are so happy they have been found. it's part of this community. we also watched for them. we hoped for their safe return. we prayed for them.

>> reporter: the police will not discuss the specifics in their report. some of the information is quite graphic and hard to read. for example, one of the women said she was starved and beaten while she was pregnant and she lost the child. we may learn more about the case against castro when he makes his first appearance in court tomorrow. brian ?

>> such a bizarre story. now three arrests but just one charge. did we learn more about what may have been the break that led to their assisted escape?

>> well, apparently there was an interior door somewhere in the house that was left unlocked when castro allegedly left sometime on monday. that's when amanda berry saw an opening, got through that door, got to the screen door which is on the porch and that's how she was able to gesture and make noise and scream and yell, frankly, and get the attention of some of the residents in the neighborhood who came and rescued them. that's how it ended. apparently a lucky break . authorities said there was very little evidence that they had tried to escape any other time during the ten years or so they were in captivity. this is a gruesome situation, brian .

>> incredible turn of events in cleveland . ron allen on the story for us. ron, thanks.