When Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus escaped two years ago from Ariel Castro’s home in Cleveland after 10 years of captivity, they had a narrow view of the freedom that awaited them and the potential interest in their story. “We were happy that we were going to eat food again and dress in the clothes we liked,” Berry told the Northeast Ohio Media Group in an interview to promote their just published book. “We never thought coming home would become a such a big, big story.” Their escape, along with Michelle Knight’s, captured the nation’s attention and sent media outlets into a frenzy. “There were guys disguising themselves as women,” DeJesus said about photographers’ attempts to get near the family’s home.
Since May 6, 2013, when Amanda kicked out the bottom panel of Castro’s front screen door, which was padlocked from the inside, we have waited to hear from the three women. As the two-year anniversary of their escape approaches, Berry and DeJesus are cautiously stepping into the spotlight to promote their book, “Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland.” (Knight, 34, told her story a year ago in a memoir, “Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, A Life Reclaimed.”) Berry, 29, and DeJesus, 25, who were kidnapped as teens in 2003 and 2004, respectively, have taken a different approach to revealing their experiences. They turned to Pulitzer-Prize winning Washington Post reporters Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan, who are married.