Amanda Berry’s sister makes statement: ‘Please respect our privacy’

Beth Serrano, sister of Amanda Berry, walks up to address the media in Cleveland, Ohio, May 8, 2013. Credit: Reuters
Beth Serrano, sister of Amanda Berry, walks up to address the media in Cleveland, Ohio, May 8, 2013.
Credit: Reuters

Amanda Berry’s sister has addressed the public to ask for privacy as Berry, who has been gone for more than 10 years, gets reacquainted with her family in Cleveland.

“We want to thank the public and media for their support over the years,” Beth Serrano said to a large gathering of reporters outside her Cleveland home.

Police officials had told reporters that Amanda Berry would be making a statement shortly after she arrived at the house, but it was her sister who came out to address the crowd instead.

Holding back tears, Serrano added, “Our family would request privacy so my sister, niece and I have time to recover. Please respect our privacy until we are ready to make our statements.”

Berry was able to escape the Cleveland house where she had been held captive since her disappearance at age 17 in 2003. Inside the same home, police found two other missing people: Gina DeJesus who disappeared at age 14 in 2004, and Michele Knight, who went missing at age 20 in 2002.

Berry gave birth to a daughter, Jocelyn, while in captivity, who is now 6 years old. The girls’ accused captor, 52-year-old Ariel Castro, is presumed to be the child’s father.

The city in Cleveland rejoiced at news that the girls, who were the focus of intense media coverage after their disappearances, were found alive in good health. They have been reunited with their family members since Monday night, who never believed the girls were dead.

Castro and his brothers, Pedro Castro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50, were taken into custody Monday. They are expected to be charged Wednesday, police said.

This incredible drama began to unfold Monday night when a neighbor heard Berry’s screams and pleas to be let out of the house. That neighbor, Charles Ramsey, helped kick through the front door, freeing Berry who then made a desperate call to 911. Investigators have since found ropes and chains they believe were used to restrain the girls in the house. They have not found human remains, fueling speculation into whether Castro was involved in other kidnappings.

Berry’s mother died of heart failure two years after her daughter went missing — people close to the family maintain she died of a “broken heart.” She went to her grave convinced her daughter was still alive, despite a reading from a psychic who told her Amanda was dead.

“It tormented her because she knew she was alive, but her heart gave out,” former Cleveland investigative reporter Duane Pohlman recalled to Metro. “There was something different about her mom that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. She was insistent, almost obsessive, that her daughter was still alive, almost to the point of wanting to convince me.”

Amanda Berry’s sister joined her at the hospital after her rescue Monday night. She has also reconnected with her grandmother in Tennessee by phone.

Gina DeJesus was also reunited with her family. Her cousin, Sheila Figaro, said the family never lost hope that Gina would be found one day. The house where the girls were held for more than a decade was just two blocks from DeJesus’ aunt, who lived on the same street.

“There were all those thoughts that race through one’s mind – is she right under your nose? Has she been taken to another country?” Figaro said to Metro. “But, you just never know. To find out she was blocks two away from her own family…”

Follow Cassandra Garrison on Twitter: @CassieAtMetro



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Wellbeing

Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…