(Cleveland) — Two of the women held captive for a decade at a run-down Cleveland house were welcomed home by jubilant crowds of loved ones and neighbors with balloons and banners Wednesday as police built a case against the three brothers under arrest.
The families of the two young women, Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry, protectively took them inside, past hundreds of reporters and onlookers. Neither woman spoke, and their families pleaded for patience and time alone.
"Give us time and privacy to heal," said Sandra Ruiz, DeJesus' aunt. Ruiz thanked police for rescuing the three women and urged the public not to retaliate against the suspects or their families.
DeJesus, who disappeared in 2004 and is in her early 20s, arrived home in the afternoon Wednesday to chants of "Gina! Gina!" Wearing a bright yellow hooded sweatshirt, she was led through the crowd and into the house by a woman who put her arm around the young woman's shoulders and held her tight.
Berry arrived at her sister's home, which was similarly festooned with dozens of colorful balloons and signs, one reading "We Never Lost Hope Mandy." Hundreds cheered wildly but weren't able to get a glimpse of Berry as she went in through the back.
Her sister, Beth Serrano, made a brief statement that they are happy Amanda is home and asked reporters to respect their privacy.
It is possible that Amanda will make a statement in the near future.
Before Berry's arrival, 2nd District Commander Thomas McCartney discussed the joy and relief that Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were all found alive.
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.
Meanwhile, the aunt of a 14-year-old girl who disappeared in 2007 near the house where the missing women were found said the girl's mother has spoken with the FBI.
"We're hoping for our miracle, too," said Debra Summers, who described her niece, Ashley Summers, as not the type of girl who would leave without coming back.
The FBI did not immediately return a call about the case and whether it was connected to that of the three missing women.
Associated Press writers Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Jesse Washington, 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.
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