Home / National News / Cleveland Kidnapping Survivor Describes Moment She Realized She Could Escape


(CLEVELAND) — Amanda Berry had been held prisoner in Ariel Castro’s Cleveland home for 10 years when suddenly, almost without realizing it, she noticed that Castro wasn’t home and she had an opportunity to escape.

“I didn’t know what to do, my heart immediately started pounding because I’m like, ‘is — should I chance it? … He could be here any minute, if I’m going to do it, I need to do it now,’” Berry told ABC News’ Robin Roberts in an exclusive interview that will air Tuesday, April 28, on a special edition of 20/20.

It’s now been two years since Berry, Gina DeJesus and their fellow survivor Michelle Knight escaped from Castro’s house of horrors on Seymour Avenue.

In their interview with Roberts, Berry and DeJesus talk in great detail about how they were lured into Castro’s home, what their lives were like as his prisoners, how they felt about each other and what happened the day they decided to escape.

“At first it was so unreal,” Berry said. “When the cops had gotten there, I told them, ‘there’s two other girls in the house’ … they put me in a car and then that’s when they ran upstairs to get them, and once I saw that I’m like, ‘This is it. I think we’re free now.’”

Their story will air in a one-hour special, Captive: A Journey of Hope and Survival at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

Berry, 29, and DeJesus, 25, were abducted between 2003 and 2004, when they were in their teens, and were kept captive for over a decade. Castro had a child with Berry while she was his prisoner — Jocelyn, who is now 8 years old.

When Jocelyn was born, DeJesus said having the little girl there with them was a welcome distraction.

“It was fun because I can get away from the situation,” DeJesus said. “When I was playing with Jocelyn, Jocelyn made me forget everything.”

The two women also talked to Roberts about rebuilding their lives — both were in high school when they were taken — and their upcoming book, Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland, which will be released on April 27.

The memoir, which the two young women wrote with Washington Post journalists Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan, details the survivors’ lives while they were held captive inside Castro’s home.

Two months after they escaped, Castro, 53, pled guilty in July 2013 to 937 charges relating to kidnapping, torturing and imprisoning the three women. On Sept. 3, 2013, he was found dead in his prison cell after committing suicide.

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