Facing charges

The Castro brothers
The Castro brothers

CLEVELAND — Police investigating the abduction of three women for about a decade in Cleveland, Ohio, are due to interview three male suspects.

A judge granted them an extra 12 hours to file charges, giving them until this evening local time.

Correspondents say police have been put on the defensive by questions over their handling of the case.

All three women are said to be in good health, following their dramatic rescue on Monday evening.

Amanda Berry, who disappeared in 2003 aged 16, escaped with a neighbour’s help while her alleged captor was away.

Gina DeJesus, who went missing aged 14 a year later, and Michelle Knight, who vanished in 2002 aged about 19, were also rescued from the property.

A school bus driver, Ariel Castro, and his two brothers – Pedro, 54, and Onil, 50 – have been arrested.

Ariel Castro reportedly fled the neighbourhood after neighbours kicked in the door of his house to help the women escape.

He was arrested at a nearby McDonald’s restaurant, according to local media.

It is unclear when Castro’s brothers were detained.

The reappearance of the women astounded residents of the neighbourhood in which they had been held, but some have claimed police failed to act on their tip-offs.

Police have confirmed a six-year-old girl, Jocelyn, who was discovered along with the women, is Amanda Berry’s daughter.

Police say they were planning to conduct in-depth interviews with the suspects today, and charges are expected to be filed by evening – 48 hours after the men were arrested.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg. This investigation will take a very long time,” Cleveland police spokeswoman Jennifer Ciaccia told CNN.

Police are carrying out an inch-by-inch inspection of the house at 2207 Seymour Ave and say they are also searching other properties.

Monday’s rescue unfolded with a frenzied call to the emergency services by Berry, now 27.

She escaped with the help of a neighbour who heard her screaming while her alleged captor was out of the house.

Rescuer Charles Ramsey said he had helped kick in a metal door so that Berry could climb outside, with her daughter, and phone police.

In a recording of Monday’s emergency call, she says: “I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for 10 years. And I’m here. I’m free now.”

She begged for police to come soon, “before he gets back”.

Police then arrived to find the two other abductees.

The women were taken to hospital and reunited with their families. (BBC)

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