We all remember Charles Ramsey speaking to media near the home where missing women Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight were rescued in Cleveland. Ramsey lived next door to where Ariel Castro kept the women in his makeshift prison until that fateful Monday afternoon, when Ramsey happened to be home and heard Amanda Berry’s scream.
Since then, the lives for all involved in this story has changed, Michelle Knight is moving forward and reportedly changing her name. Gina and Amanda offered the public a brief glimpse in to their present state-of-mind as they released statements
I would like to thank all the people who have helped and supported my family and me. You have changed our lives in ways you’ll never know.
On this day, we decided that the right place for us to be was with other families who have gone through what our family has gone through. I want these families to know they will always have a special place in our hearts.
So much has happened this past year. I have grown. I am strong. And I have so much to live for, to look forward to. The future is bright.
I want to thank everyone who donated to the Courage Fund and sent gifts to me. You have made such a difference in my life.
This past year has been amazing, full of healing and hope. I am spending time with my family and working with Amanda on a book that we are really excited about.
I have also been enjoying new experiences, such as learning how to use new technology and how to drive. Thanks for continuing to respect my privacy and that of my family.
Charles Ramsey, who emerged as the hero of the day, has since written a book about the night of May 6, 2013, and his life before and after. It’s called Dead Giveaway (Gray & Co.).
Here’s an excerpt from the book:
The community around Seymour Avenue was tight-knit and self-sufficient. Almost everything you might need could be found within walking distance. Everyone there knew each other’s business. There weren’t very many secrets. This is why I speculate — not accuse, but speculate — that somebody on that street had to know that something was going on in Ariel Castro’s house.
Ariel obviously was a genius monster, but to carry out the so-far crime of the century for 12 goddamn years without anyone knowing just stretches the limits of believability.
But I’m not saying it’s impossible.
Ariel was, at least on the outside, the ideal neighbor. He went to work every day, cut his grass, brought his garbage cans in, fixed his cars, painted his porch, and kept to himself.
One of the guys in the neighborhood, Juan Perez, told ABC News, “Everyone thought he was a great guy.”
I can look back with 20/20 hindsight and realize there were several clues that something really odd was going on.
When we had those barbeques, Ariel would always do his cooking and bring it over to the neighbors’ houses. Neighbors never came onto his property.
I had noticed that Ariel’s windows were boarded up or covered up with plastic. There were no air conditioning units, so you can only imagine how stifling that place would be in the summer. When I asked some of the neighbors why Ariel’s house was boarded up in the summer with no air conditioning, they told me that’s just a Puerto Rican thing, that he liked everything muy caliente. Well, I’ve got plenty of African DNA in me but I would at least want some ventilation in my house. No one ever said, “Hmm, that is odd.”
In the winter, my roomie Shultzie and I once noticed that one of the windows was constantly iced over while others weren’t. I wouldn’t be surprised if that bastard was heating the rooms he was using and freezing the rooms where the girls were kept.
I remember Ariel’s daughter Angie coming over to the house several times. She was one fine-lookin’ babe. I kept my distance since she was Ariel’s daughter and the man code made her ineligible for me. But when Angie would come by, Ariel would take forever to answer the front door. He would then give her some sort of hand signal to go around the back.
Many times Ariel would see me outside and call me over. “Hey, I’ve got this leftover food here — you want it?” he would ask. It looked good to me, so I gladly accepted, appreciative of his generosity. But it turns out he wasn’t being generous — he was using me as a guinea pig. He would sometimes have the girls cook for him, and fearing they might be trying to poison him, he figured he’d better try it out on the nigga next door.
There were dots there, just never connected.
Ariel wasn’t the only secret madman of Seymour Avenue.
After the rescue, the authorities checked out all the neighbors up and down the street. They discovered Elias Acevedo Sr., a registered sex offender who had failed to report his whereabouts to authorities.
Turns out he had raped and murdered his 30-year-old neighbor, Pamela Pemberton, in 1994, and then killed Christina Adkins, a pregnant 18-year-old who disappeared near Seymour in 1995, and stuffed her into a manhole.
While he was in jail, DNA evidence linked him to a rape that had occurred near where Pam’s body was found. He then confessed to the rape and murder of both women, and was sentenced to 445 years in prison without the possibility of parole. That means this rescue has resulted in the solving of five kidnappings and two murders. Not bad for a toothless dishwasher. For my next act, I think I’ll go find Jimmy Hoffa.
Excerpted from the book “Dead Giveaway” © 2014 by Charles Ramsey with Randy Nyerges. Reprinted with permission of Gray & Co., Publishers.
Autographed copies of the book are available at CharlesRamseyWorld.com. “Dead Giveaway” ($14.95, 165 pages) is available at Northeast Ohio bookstores, Discount Drug Mart locations, Grayco.com, BarnesAndNoble.com and Amazon.com. Ebook editions are also available.