Cleveland kidnappings: women found after 10 years

Three women kidnapped and held captive for up to a decade have been found alive in a house in Cleveland, Ohio.

The women, Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 30, were freed after their kidnapper apparently left the home and Miss Berry was able to break out and call the emergency services. A child was also found at the property.

They were taken to hospital and will soon be interviewed by the FBI over their ordeal.

Miss Berry apparently managed to get out of the home, which the Plain Dealer newspaper said was owned by a retired school bus driver, through a broken door and call 911.

"I've been kidnapped, and I've been missing for 10 years,” she told the operator. "I’m here. I’m free now.” The women’s identities have been verified.

The house in Cleveland where the women are thought to have been held

Police search the house

Miss Berry disappeared at 16 on April 21 2003, when she called her sister to say she was getting a ride home from her job at a Burger King. Miss DeJesus went missing at 14 on her way home from school about a year later. The house where they appear to have been held is just a few miles from where they disappeared. Police said Miss Knight went missing in 2002.

Police have arrested three brothers aged 50, 52 and 54 in connection with the incident.

Neighbours have described how they saw a woman's arm waving from under a broken door as she screamed for help. Charles Ramsey, who lives nearby, said he helped kick in the door to allow the woman, later revealed to be Miss Berry, to crawl out. He said a man ran off.

At Metro Health Medical Centre, Dr Gerald Maloney declined to go into details about the women's conditions. "We're assessing their needs, and the appropriate specialists are evaluating them as well," he said at a news conference, which concluded with a round of applause from a large gathering of residents.

Miss Berry's mother died in 2006 after a long illness. Michelle Knight's grandmother, Deborah Knight, reportedly said she had not yet had confirmation from police about the rescue. The family had thought Miss Knight had run away.