Neighbor Charles Ramsey Hailed a Hero in Cleveland Escape

After knocking down a door that freed kidnapped Amanda Berry, Ramsey said he was shocked to learn that she was being held captive just across the street.

Posted: 05/07/2013 11:21 AM EDT

The miraculous rescue of three Cleveland women who spent nearly 10 years in captivity after being kidnapped in their teens and early 20s was aided by Charles Ramsey, a neighbor who helped pull down a door that opened up a case that has stumped police for years.

Ramsey shared a memorable account of the ordeal with reporters:

"I heard screaming," he said. "I’m eating my McDonald's. I come outside. I see this girl going nuts trying to get out of a house.

"I knew something was wrong when a little, pretty, white girl ran into a Black man's arms," Ramsey continued. "Something is wrong here."

Ramsey said he saw Berry struggling to get through a door that opened slightly enough to fit a hand through. He then kicked down the door and Amanda Berry rushed out with a 6-year-old girl in tow. Berry disappeared in 2003 at age 17 after she told her sister she was getting a ride home from her job at Burger King.

Now Ramsey is being hailed as a hero for the dramatic rescue.

"He is absolutely a hero," Ramsey’s boss, restaurant owner Chris Hodgson, told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. "I can't say enough about Chuck. He faced a situation and didn't turn his back on it."

Ramsey works as a dishwasher at a downtown Cleveland restaurant and his boss says that it's in his character to step in and help, no matter the situation.

"He always steps up to do anything you ask … He never says no. He always jumps on it."

After Ramsey freed Berry from the house, he let her use his phone to call 911 and she immediately informed them that two other women, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, were still in the house.

Ramsey said he was shocked when he realized that the woman he freed was Berry, whose face has appeared on local news and missing persons posters for years. He claims he never would have suspected anything strange was going on at the house.

"We see this dude every day," Ramsey told reporters about the man who lived at the house where Berry and the other women were found. "I barbecue with this dude, we listen to salsa and eat ribs together and whatnot. We had not a clue that a girl was in that house, or anyone else against their will."

Police say 52-year-old Ariel Castro, the man living at the home, and two of his brothers are believed to be responsible for the kidnapping of the women but they declined to release any more details about the men responsible. Police have arrested Castro and his two brothers Pedro Castro and Onil Castro, in connection with the women's disappearances.


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(Photo: AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Scott Shaw)

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