Hope realized in Cleveland

May 8, 2013 

Three young women, abducted separately 10 years ago, are under medical care, along with a child said to be the daughter born to Amanda Berry while she was a captive. She was 16 when she was taken in Cleveland. Gina DeJesus, then 14, was captured and held, and so was Michelle Knight, 20 at the time of her abduction.

The then-girls disappeared in a fairly close area in Cleveland, and it seems they’ve been in a house together ever since. Three men, brothers Ariel Castro, Onil Castro and Pedro Castro, all in their 50s, are under arrest.

And those are the facts. Certainly this story, while not over by any means, now has a chapter rarely seen in stories of abductions that happened years before. The victims have been found alive and apparently in good health. Their families are welcoming them with love and affection.

The Cleveland police will come under intense scrutiny and are likely to be subject to an independent investigation as to why they knew nothing of the drama that was playing out in a tight, working-class neighborhood. And they had been called to the neighborhood at least a couple of times.

But a happy ending? To some degree, perhaps it is, but the story of what happened to these women while they were captive is likely to be painful, even horrific. Their “recuperation” will take a lifetime.

Their story is in one sense uplifting, the triumph of hope against all odds. In another way, it is a lesson to all to be aware of what is around us, to keep our eyes out for each other, to not live in anonymity and isolation, to be a village.

For now, we await the unfolding of a story likely to be complicated, difficult and at times anguished.

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