Moral Low Ground

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Charles Ramsey, Cleveland Man who Helped Rescue Missing Women Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, Tells His Story

An Ohio man has become something of a national hero after he helped rescue three women who were kidnapped in the early 2000s.

Charles Ramsey says he was at his home on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland eating McDonalds takeout when he heard screaming coming from a house across the street.

“I come outside and I see this girl going nuts trying to get out of a house,” Ramsey told ABC 5. “So I go on the porch and she says, ‘help me get out; I’ve been in here a long time.'”

Ramsey says he believed he was intervening in “a domestic violence dispute.” He attempted to open the door but couldn’t, so he kicked it in.

“She comes out with a little girl and she says ‘Call 911, my name is Amanda Berry.'”

Berry, now 27, disappeared on her way home from work at a Burger King restaurant in April 2003.

“When she told me, it didn’t register until I got to calling 911,” Ramsey said. “I thought that girl was dead.”

(Listen to Berry’s frantic 911 call here.)

Ramsey said “30 or 40” police officers rushed to the scene and rescued two other women, 23-year-old Gina DeJesus, who went missing nine years ago, and Michelle Knight, who disappeared 11 years ago. A 6-year-old girl, who Berry gave birth to while in captivity, was also rescued. It is unclear who the child’s father is.

“It was just astonishing,” Ramsey told ABC 5. “… my neighbor, he’s got some big testicles to pull this off, bro, because we see this dude every day,” he said of suspect Ariel Castro, a 52-year-old bus driver identified by NBC News as one of three brothers arrested by Cleveland police on Monday. The other brothers have been identified as Pedro Castro, 54, and O’Neal Castro, age 50.

“I barbecue with this dude, we eat ribs… and listen to salsa music,” Ramsey said of Castro, adding that he didn’t have a clue that anyone was being held in Castro’s home against their will.

“He just comes out to his backyard, plays with his dogs, takes care of his cars and motorcycles, goes back in the house… he’s not doing nothing but the average stuff. There’s nothing exciting about him– until today.”

When asked how the young women reacted to being rescued, Ramsey told ABC 5 that he “knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway. Dead giveaway. ‘Cause either she’s homeless, or got problems. That’s the only reason why she’s running to a black man!”

The three freed women were taken to Metro Health Medical Hospital, where Berry had an emotional reunion with her older sister, Beth Serrano. It was a bittersweet event– their mother died in 2006 from heart failure.

The three women were later released from the hospital.

“The nightmare is over,” Cleveland FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony told reporters on Monday. “These three young ladies have provided us with the ultimate definition of survival and perseverance. The healing can now begin.”

At a Tuesday press conference, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said there were still so many unanswered questions, like “why were they taken, how they were taken and how they remained undetected in the city of Cleveland for all this time?”

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