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   On her first night at home in a decade, relatives of freed kidnapping victim Gina DeJesus huddled around her, sleeping on inflatable mattresses in their living room so the young woman would not have to sleep in an upstairs bedroom similar to the one where she spent much of her captivity, her mother told ABC News in an exclusive interview with David Muir.

   DeJesus, 23, was reunited with her family Wednesday after nearly 10 years spent as the alleged prisoner of Ariel Castro, a man her mother knew for years.

   For years after DeJesus' abduction, Castro, who grew up in the same community as the young woman's mother, Nancy Ruiz, would offer the family his support.

   As recently as last year, Castro, 52, asked Ruiz, "How are you doing?" never indicating he was allegedly keeping her daughter a captive in his Cleveland home just miles from where she lived.

   Ruiz said DeJesus told her that she and two other women, Amanda Berry, 27, and Michelle Knight, 30, were kept chained in the basement of the basement. Later on, they were allowed upstairs and kept in two separate bedrooms for much of the time.

   DeJesus and Knight were often kept in one bedroom. Berry and her daughter, 6, whom she gave birth to while in captivity, were held in a second room, Ruiz said.

   The young women were warned there was an alarm system and that it would go off if they tried to escape, Ruiz added.

   The women were freed on Monday, when Berry screamed for help from behind a locked door, alerting neighbors who helped kick down the door and called police.

   Ruiz said Castro would take Berry's daughters on outings to the park and to church, though the women were never permitted to leave the property themselves.

   Berry's litte girl was never told the real names of the other women in the house because of fears she might reveal those names in public and get Castro in trouble, Ruiz said.

   Castro would bring the women food, which they would cook. Sometimes he would bring them McDonald's food.

   He bought the young women clothes from a local store, Ruiz said, and DeJesus would use the fabric from the clothes to make new outfits, once changing a skirt into a pair of capri pants.

   Castro was arraigned today in an Ohio court on charges of kidnapping and rape. Bond was set at $8 million. He did not enter a plea.

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   Determined not to let the statute of limitations keep them from prosecuting a serial rapist, St. Clair County authorities have charged a suspect identified only by his DNA profile with a 2005 assault in East St. Louis.  

   The profile is linked to four other sexual assault cases between 1997 and 2008.  

   Prosecutors say they to the action in order to file charges before the 10 year statute of limitations runs out.

    Illinois State Police Lt. Dave Wasmuth says he believes the serial rapist will eventually be arrested. "We're just waiting for his DNA to be taken, submitted to the DNA index, and a match will occur, Lt. Wasmuth said.  "And then the warrant would be amended and actually put that person's name on the warrant."

   St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly says the victim, who no longer lives in the St. Louis area, is "happy" that authorities are pursing a conviction so aggressively.

  This is the first time St. Clair County prosecutors have filed charges against a suspect identified only by a DNA profile, but similar legal actions have been taken elsewhere in Illinois.  

   Bail for the unnamed suspect has already been set at $750,000.

 
Friday, 10 May 2013 01:23
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Limited seating is available for next week's "It's in the Cards" Gala. 

The event benefits the Thompson Foundation for Autism, which supplies assistance to families of kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Center Director Dr. Stephen Kanne tells KTRS News the gala shines light on the issue, but it isn't enough on its own, "Autism isn't something for us that happens once a year during the gala. You know, we have to deal with the issue yearlong as do the families and kids."

Dr. Kanne says anyone can donate at thompsonfoundation.org.

There are also resources there for families who think their children might have autism spectrum disorder.

 

Thursday, 09 May 2013 17:42
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An Affton man admitted to giving alcohol to his preteen stepson just hours before the boy drowned in the Meramec River.

Todd Combs told prosecutors he had supplied alcohol to several minors, including 12-year-old Christopher Marks, on August 5 of last year. The family was having a picnic in the Pacific Palisades conservation area. Family members told police Marks went to use a rope swing by the river, but never returned.

After days of searching, teams found the boy's body miles downstream.

Combs will be sentenced next month for seven counts of child endangerment.

Thursday, 09 May 2013 17:16
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