Amanda Berry's sister Beth Serrano spoke to the media in Cleveland on Wednesday, saying: "Our family would request privacy so my sister, niece and I can have time to recover."

Three young women newly freed from a decade-long kidnapping ordeal in Cleveland endured their captivity in the dungeon-like confines of a squalid house, where they were raped, starved, beaten and kept in chains by the man who abducted them, authorities said on Wednesday.

Their accused tormentor, Ariel Castro, 52, a veteran school bus driver fired from his job last fall, was formally charged on Wednesday with kidnapping and raping the women, who were rescued from his house on Monday evening shortly before his arrest.

His two brothers, initially arrested as suspects in the case, were not charged, and police said investigators had determined they had no knowledge of the abductions or captivity of the women.

The three victims, believed to have been abducted separately from the surrounding neighborhood and held prisoner for years, were found alive together when neighbors were alerted to their presence by cries for help from one of the women, Amanda Berry.

She told police that her escape two days ago was her first chance to break free in the 10 years that she was imprisoned in the house, during which time she conceived and gave birth to a daughter, now 6, and rescued along with the three women.

Additional details of their captivity emerged in a police report from the initial investigation, including that the three were held in the basement for periods of time, restrained with ropes and chains and occasionally starved, according to Cleveland City Councilman Brian Cummins, who read the report and said he was briefed by multiple sources in the police department.

Cummins said that one of the three - he did not know which - had suffered at least five miscarriages, which Castro is accused of causing by starving her for weeks and beating her in the stomach.

Freed from the house along with Berry and her daughter were Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32.

Castro, owner of the modest, two-story house, had been thought by neighbors to live there alone. Berry has said she only managed to call for help when Castro briefly left the premises on Monday.

"The only opportunity, after interviewing the young ladies, to escape was the other day when Amanda escaped," Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said at the news conference. "They don't believe that they've been outside that home for the last 10 years respectively."

Authorities said the women recalled leaving the house twice, only to go to the garage on the small lot, when they were disguised in wigs and hats.

Tomba said Berry, DeJesus and Knight had been kept separately in the house, where police have found ropes and chains.

"They were not in one room, but they did know each other and they did know each other was there," he said.

Berry's daughter was born on December 25, 2006 during her mother's captivity, authorities said. A paternity test will be conducted to determine the girl's father.


As authorities readied their case against Castro, Berry and DeJesus went to their families' homes on Wednesday. Knight was in a Cleveland hospital where a spokeswoman said she was in good condition.

Berry and her daughter could be seen from an aerial television camera arriving in a convoy of vehicles at her sister's house and going in the back door.

Before Monday evening, Berry had last been seen leaving her job at a fast-food restaurant the day before her 17th birthday in April 2003. Her disappearance as a teenager was widely publicized in the local media.

DeJesus was rushed into the home she had not seen in nine years, clenched in a tight embrace by her sister Mayra. DeJesus hid her face in a yellow hooded sweat-shirt but raised her hand in a thumbs-up sign to spectators chanting "Gina. Gina."

Her mother Nancy DeJesus came outside after a little while.

"I want to thank everybody that believed," she said. "Even the ones that doubted, I still want to thank them the most because they're the ones that made me stronger, the ones that made me feel the most that my daughter was out there."

Neither Berry nor DeJesus, who vanished while walking home from school at age 14 in 2004, spoke publicly. Knight was 20 when she disappeared in 2002.

Castro, who is not a suspect in any other cases, faced arraignment on Thursday morning, the prosecutor said.

Investigators took some 200 pieces of evidence from his house, which Tomba said was "in quite a bit of disarray," but found no human remains on the site. Police were still searching a second house.

The three brothers were arrested on Monday evening within hours of the women's escape. However, there was no evidence Pedro Castro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50, were involved, the prosecutor said.

The two brothers would be appearing in court on Thursday on unrelated outstanding misdemeanor warrants.

"There is nothing that leads us to believe that they were involved or had any knowledge of this, and that comes from statements of our victims, their statements and the brothers' statements," Cleveland city prosecutor Victor Perez said at a news conference, adding, "Ariel would have kept everybody at a distance."

Berry can be heard naming Ariel Castro as the man she was fleeing on the frantic emergency call she made to a 911 operator after a neighbor heard her scream and helped her break through a locked screen door.

Born in Puerto Rico, Ariel Castro played bass in Latin music bands in the area. Records show he was divorced more than a decade ago and his ex-wife had since died. He is known to have at least one adult daughter and son.

In 2005, Castro was named in a complaint of domestic violence in a custody dispute with his ex-wife that accused him of breaking her nose twice, knocking out her tooth, dislocating her shoulder twice and threatening to kill her and her daughters several times.

The complaint was eventually dismissed.