The 52-year-old former school bus driver accused of kidnapping and raping the women will make his first public appearance in court Thursday after emerging as the lone suspect.
While many questions remain about how Ariel Castro maintained such tight control over the women for so many years before one of them made a daring escape Monday, the horrors they suffered are beginning to come to light.
Police say the women were apparently bound by ropes and chains at times and were kept in different rooms. They suffered prolonged sexual and psychological abuse and had miscarriages, according to a city official briefed on the case.
Castro has been charged with four counts of kidnapping — covering the captives and the daughter born to one of them — and three counts of rape, against all three women.
The women and Castro have given lengthy statements to police that have helped build their case, said Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba.
None of the women, though, gave them any indication that Castro's two older brothers, who've been in custody since Monday, were involved, Tomba said. Prosecutors brought no charges against the brothers, citing a lack of evidence.
"Ariel kept everyone at a distance," Tomba said.
One thing that remains a mystery, he said, is how the women were kept in the house so long.
"As far as the circumstances inside the home and the control he may have had over those girls ... I think that's going to take us a long time to figure that out," he said.
The women, now in their 20s and 30s, vanished separately between 2002 and 2004. At the time, they were 14, 16 and 20 years old.
At a news conference, authorities would not discuss the circumstances of their kidnapping and captivity.
City Councilman Brian Cummins earlier said: "We know that the victims have confirmed miscarriages, but with who, how many and what conditions we don't know."
"It sounds pretty gruesome," he added.
They never saw a chance to escape over the last 10 years until this week when Amanda Berry broke through a door and ran to freedom, alerting police who rescued the other two women while Castro was away from the house.
In newly released police audio tapes, a 911 dispatcher notifies officers on Monday that she's just spoken to a woman who "says her name is Amanda Berry and that she had been kidnapped 10 years ago."
An officer on the recorded call says, "This might be for real."
After police arrive at the house, women can be heard crying in the background. Then an officer tells the dispatcher: "We found 'em. We found 'em."
Tomba said of Berry, "Something must have clicked and she saw an opportunity and she took that opportunity."
He said the women could remember being outside only twice during their entire time in captivity. "We were told they left the house and went into the garage in disguise," he said.
Also in the house was Berry's 6-year-old daughter. A paternity test on Castro was being done to establish whether he fathered the child.
While prosecutors announced charges against Castro, federal agents searched a vacant house near where the women had been held. Officials would only say their search was an attempt to get evidence in the case against Castro, but they refused to say what they found or what led them there.
Castro was in custody and couldn't be reached for comment. A brother-in-law has said the family was shocked after hearing about the women at the home.
Few people in Cleveland, outside the families of the women, thought there was any chance they were still alive.
Berry, 27, and Gina DeJesus, who is in her early 20s, were welcomed home Wednesday by jubilant crowds of loved ones and neighbors with balloons and banners. Family members hustled them inside, past hundreds of reporters and onlookers.
Neither woman spoke.
"This is the best Mother's Day I could ever have," said Nancy Ruiz, Gina's mother. She said she hugged her daughter and didn't want to let go.
Ruiz said she spent time with all three women after they were rescued. "There's no word to describe the beauty of just seeing them," she said.
DeJesus' father pumped his fist after arriving home with his daughter, and urged people across the country to watch over the children in their neighborhoods — including other people's kids.
"Too many kids these days come up missing, and we always ask this question: How come I didn't see what happened to that kid? Why? Because we chose not to," he said.
The third captive, Michelle Knight, 32, was reported in good condition at Metro Health Medical Center, which a day earlier had reported that all three victims had been released. There was no immediate explanation from the hospital.
The Associated Press does not usually identify people who may be victims of sexual assault, but the names of the women were widely circulated by their families, friends and law enforcement authorities for years during their disappearance.
Castro was accused of twice breaking the nose of his children's mother, knocking out a tooth, dislocating each shoulder and threatening to kill her and her daughters, according to a 2005 domestic-violence filing in Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court.
The filing for a protective order by Grimilda Figueroa also said that Castro frequently abducted her daughters and kept them from her. Figueroa died in April 2012 after a battle with cancer.
Figueroa's father, Ismail Figueroa, said Wednesday that Castro would regularly lock his daughter inside a second-floor apartment in the house where they lived when they were first together.
Later, when they moved a few blocks to the house Castro purchased — the house from which, years later, the women would escape — he kept a close eye on her and refused to let people come inside to visit her or even let her pick up their children from school, said Angel Villanueva, who is married to Grimilda Figueroa's sister.
Grimilda was "not allowed to go nowhere," said Villanueva. No matter where she wanted to go, "it had to be with him."
___ Associated Press writers Andrew Welsh-Huggins and Mike Householder and freelance reporter John Coyne in Cleveland; Mitch Stacy in Columbus; Dan Sewell in Cincinnati; John Seewer in Toledo; and news researchers Rhonda Shafner and Jennifer Farrar in New York contributed to this report.
Defenseman Slava Voynov scored on an odd-man rush 8 minutes into overtime and the Kings beat the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Wednesday night, winning for the third straight time after dropping the first two games.
"Starting the series 0-2 wasn't the best start," said Jeff Carter, who scored in the opening minute of the second and third periods. "It wasn't the start we were looking for, but we worked on things and we talked about things, and I think it's showing in our game now."
Game 6 is in Los Angeles on Friday night and the Kings have won nine in a row at home, where they are 21-4-1 overall counting the regular season. They're also 4-0 at home in the playoffs against the Blues the last two seasons.
"Another one-goal game, but we came out on top," goalie Jonathan Quick said. "We've got another one to win, so we're going to go home and get our rest and get ready.
"We've still got a lot of work to do, so we're going to get ready for this next one."
The Blues failed to capitalize on Alex Pietrangelo's goal with 44.1 seconds remaining in regulation. Rookie Jaden Schwartz got a piece of Voynov's stick on the winner, perhaps altering the shot a bit, and smashed his stick several times against the sideboards and glass before leaving the ice.
"I thought we played a pretty solid game for the most part," Schwartz said. "We battled back hard. It was just an unfortunate bounce in the end."
With goalie Brian Elliott off for an extra attacker, Pietrangelo's wrist shot at the end of regulation forced overtime for the second time in the series. It was the third goal in the final minute of the third period in the series.
The Kings' Justin Williams scored in the final minute of a 2-1 overtime loss in Game 1, also in St. Louis. The Blues had a 2-0 series lead after Barret Jackman scored in the final minute of Game 2.
All five games have been decided by one goal, the only first-round series with that distinction.
"The momentum can swing at any moment," said Jackman, who was on the ice for the winner. "You get an odd-man rush and get a bit of a lucky goal, that happens in overtime.
"That's why you shoot the puck."
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock thought Game 5 was his team's best overall effort, and was optimistic that with a repeat showing they can get back home and force Game 7 on Monday night.
"If we play like that again, I like our chances," Hitchcock said. "We got a heck of an effort for everybody across the board."
The Kings ended the Blues' eight-game home win streak in which Elliott allowed one goal each time. Elliott was not made available to reporters.
The Kings were the first road team to win in the series.
Voynov scored the only goal in the Kings' 1-0 Game 3 victory. That had been the defenseman's lone point of the series before he joined the attack with Williams and Anze Kopitar, with all three players handling the puck before Voynov slid the puck beneath Elliott's pads.
Alex Steen's third goal of the series tied it at 1 in the second period for St. Louis. Steen, whose short-handed overtime goal decided Game 1, twice took the puck from defenseman Jake Muzzin on the play.
Pietrangelo got the puck at the point off a clean faceoff win by David Backes and slid into the middle before threading a shot past Quick after two teammates were unsuccessful at deflection attempts.
Carter's power-play goal capitalized on a tripping penalty to Jackman at the end of the second period. Kopitar got Elliott out of position on an odd-man rush before Carter converted a one-timer to put the Kings up 2-1.
The Blues dominated much of the scoreless opening period, responding from their fadeout while blowing a pair of leads in a 4-3 loss in Game 4. The reunited CPR fourth line of Adam Cracknell, Chris Porter and Ryan Reaves had a handful of nice scoring chances in addition to setting the tone physically.
It took the Kings just 14 seconds to take the lead in the second period, though, when Carter tapped a rebound past Elliott. Carter, among the NHL leaders with 26 goals, had no points in the first three games.
The Blues' No. 1 line was victimized again, with Patrik Berglund and David Perron on the ice for the fifth straight goal by the Kings.
Steen tied it a little over five minutes later. Steen knocked Muzzin's clearing effort out of the air with his stick and won a battle for the puck behind the net before wheeling around and scoring on a high shot.
NOTES: Cracknell was a healthy scratch in Game 4 in favor of rookie Vladimir Tarasenko, who made his playoff debut and was no factor. ... Kings coach Darryl Sutter made one lineup change, too, scratching D Keaton Ellerby in favor of 21-year-old rookie F Tyler Toffoli, who made his playoff debut. D Matt Greene, still getting into condition after missing virtually the entire season, has yet to appear in the series. ... Mike Richards assisted on Carter's second goal and has three assists the last two games.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani officials say gunmen have attacked an election rally in the southern Punjab province and abducted the son of former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
A police official, Abdul Rehman, says gunmen stormed the rally in the town of Multan, opened fire and seized Ali Haider Gilani on Thursday.
A Punjab government official, Rao Iftikhar Ahmad, says one of Gilani's guards was killed and five people were wounded in the attack.
Thursday is the last day of campaigning for Pakistan's election scheduled this Saturday.
But the race has been marred by a string of violent attacks against candidates and election events.
A member of the St. Louis Major Case Squad is in FBI custody.
Federal agents had asked East St. Louis Detective Orlando Ward to come to the federal building Tuesday afternoon. A city spokesperson says about 6:00 p.m. Tuesday night the FBI called and asked them to pickup Ward’s police car.
There's no word on why Ward was taken into custody or if any charges are pending.
City officials are very concerned that criminal allegations against Ward could put some convictions in doubt since the long-time detective has been a key investigator in many high profile criminal cases.