Gina DeJesus’ mother thanks doubters: ‘They made me stronger’

Gina DeJesus arrives at her home in Cleveland, Ohio, May 8, 2013. Credit: Reuters
Gina DeJesus arrives at her home in Cleveland, Ohio, May 8, 2013.
Credit: Reuters

Gina DeJesus, one of three missing women rescued from captivity Monday, has returned to her family’s Cleveland home amidst an outpouring of support from the community. The crowd gathered outside her family’s home erupted in cheers as Gina, wearing a yellow hooded sweatshirt, emerged from a minivan and was quickly ushered into the house. Her family members embraced each other in jubilation after her arrival.

“I want to thank everybody that believed,” DeJesus’ mother said to the crowd. “Even the ones that doubted,  I want to thank them the most – they’re the ones that made me stronger.”

DeJesus disappeared from her Cleveland neighborhood in 2004 at age 14, just one year after 17-year-old Amanda Berry was abducted from the same area. She was last seen using a pay phone on her way home from school. The house where she was held captive with Berry and Michele Knight, another missing woman, was just two blocks on Seymour Ave. from DeJesus’ aunt’s home on the same street. The women were found by police after a neighbor helped Berry break free from the front door and call 911 Monday evening.

DeJesus, now 23, was reunited with her family Monday night, which never lost hope that Gina was still alive.

“Our family is very strong in our faith and never once doubted that we would be reunited with her alive,” Figaro told Metro Tuesday.

DeJesus, Berry, Berry’s 6-year-old daughter and Knight were all in good health.

“Everybody recognized her, and she recognized everyone,” Figaro said of DeJesus after seeing her for the first time in almost ten years.

“[Monday] evening, I was in such a state of disbelief,” Sheila Figaro, a cousin of Gina DeJesus, told Metro. “There were all those thoughts that race through one’s mind – is she right under your nose? Has she been taken to another country? But, you just never know. To find out she was blocks two away from her own family…

52-year-old Ariel 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. Investigators have found chains and ropes in the house believed to have been used to restrain the women.  No human remains have been found in the house, police said. There is no evidence yet that Castro was involved in other kidnappings.

Earlier Wednesday, Amanda Berry arrived with her 6-year-old daughter, Jocelyn, to her sister’s Cleveland home. Her sister, Beth Serrano, addressed a frenzied crowd of reporters, asking for privacy as their family tried to recover.

“We want to thank the public and media for their support over the years,” Serrano said. “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.”

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

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.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

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.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…