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Questions — and mysteries — in the Cleveland kidnapping case

FBI Handout via Reuters

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, who were rescued this week after years in captivity.

As former school-bus driver Ariel Castro was charged with kidnapping and rape on Wednesday, Cleveland police released disturbing new details about the torment three women say they suffered during years of imprisonment — from being chained up to beatings and abortions.

The allegations cleared up some of the questions surrounding the disappearance of Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, who were reunited with their families after Berry escaped from the house with her 6-year-old daughter.

Many questions remain unanswered but here's a look at what we know:

Why were there no witnesses to the kidnappings?

The police report says Ariel Castro abducted all three women simply by offering each of them a ride. He allegedly told Berry, who had just left her job at Burger King, that his son also worked there. He allegedly told DeJesus he would give her a ride to his house so she could hang out with his daughter, who attended the same school.

Cleveland Department of Public Safety

Ariel Castro will be arraigned on kidnapping and rape charges Thursday.

Why weren't they able to escape for so many years?

The women told investigators they were initially kept chained in the basement, then barricaded on the second floor of the home. The doors were kept locked except when Castro would leave one unlocked to test the women, the police report said.

How is it possible no one knew three women were being held captive in the house for about a decade?

Authorities said Ariel Castro took great pains to keep the women inside the house. They could only recall two occasions when they were allowed outside, and then not off the property.

Also, relatives have said Castro never invited anyone over, and Deputy Chief Ed Tomba said, "Ariel kept everyone at a distance."

A few neighbors have claimed they saw a woman at a window or witnessed naked women on leashes in the yard and called police, but authorities said Wednesday there is no record of such calls and no evidence the incidents happened.

Why were Castro's brothers arrested but not charged?

Onil Castro was in a car with Ariel Castro when police swooped down on them in a McDonald's parking lot after Berry's escape. Onil asked police if they were looking for their brother, Pedro — who was then found passed out in his mother's backyard, according to the police report.

Officials confirm that Cleveland police were at the home where three women were held only once, in 2004, on a non-related call; that the women were outside very briefly twice; and that neither of Ariel Castro's brothers knew anything about the women in his home.

"It was an investigative stop," Tomba said, adding that police had probable cause to detain the brothers.

After investigators spoke to Ariel Castro and the victims, however, they determined there was "no evidence" they knew about or took part in the abductions.

What might other members of the Castro family have known?

Relatives say they knew nothing about the kidnappings, although two of Castro's children had coincidental ties to the case. Ariel's 31-year-old son, who goes by the first name Anthony, wrote a story about DeJesus' and Berry's disappearances in a local newspaper in 2004 when he was a journalism student and told the Cleveland Plain Dealer it was "unspeakable" to learn his father was allegedly behind it.

And Ariel's daughter Arlene, who now lives in Indiana, was described as DeJesus' best friend in a 2004 "America's Most Wanted" segment. She told the TV show that they left school together that fateful day but parted ways when her mother wouldn't give her permission to go to the DeJesus home. 

Is Ariel Castro the father of Amanda Berry's daughter?

Police said they have obtained DNA from Castro and will conduct a paternity test. The three women say they were raped by Castro, and that he forced Knight to abort five pregnancies. Knight said he made her deliver Berry's baby in a kiddie pool, threatening to kill Knight if the child died, the police report said. 

Were there other women?


Officials have said they have no reason to believe Castro will be a suspect in other disappearances. No human remains were found on the property, they said.

Several other women remain missing in Cleveland, including: Ashley Summers, who was 14 when she vanished in July 2007; Christina Kleckner, who was 24 at the time when she was last seen in October 2011; and Christina Adkins, who was 18 and pregnant when she was last seen in 1995.

Police were hoping for a break in the Summers case — "Her disappearance was part of our questioning," Tomba said — but didn't get one.

Did the police drop the ball?

Tony Dejak / AP

A daring escape and a dramatic 911 call led to the rescue of three women who allegedly had been held captive for years inside a home in Cleveland, Ohio.

Several neighbors claim they called police about disturbing goings-on at the Castro house -- from a woman with a baby trying to get out to women on leashes in the yard -- and one even said cops responded and pounded on the door in 2011.

But authorities are adamant: They were only summoned to the house twice, once in 2000 by Ariel Castro himself, complaining about a fight on the street, and in 2004 when they needed to question him about a child left behind on his school bus. In the latter case, no one answered the door and they were able to find Castro elsewhere.

Officials said the women denied ever being leashed-up in the yard.

Will anyone collect a reward?

A $25,000 reward for Amanda Berry's whereabouts had been offered at one point, but it was unclear if it's valid or who would get it.

The most likely recipient would be Charles "Chuck" Ramsey, who heard Berry's screams on Monday and helped kick down the storm door so she and her child could escape.

Ramsey, a dishwasher who became a social-media sensation after telling his story in TV interviews, has said any reward money should go to the victims.

What's next for Castro?

Police said he waived the reading of his Miranda rights and has spoken to them. It's unclear if he has retained an attorney. He is due to be arraigned on kidnapping and rape charges Thursday at 8 a.m. ET.