Posted at: 05/08/2013 6:09 AM
Updated at: 05/08/2013 4:29 PM
By: Leslie Dyste
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.
Nancy Ruiz, DeJesus' mother, thanked those who had helped the family over the past nine years.
"Even the ones that doubted, I want to thank them the most," she said. "They're the ones that made me stronger, the ones that made me feel the most that my daughter was out there."
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.
Her father pumped his fist after arriving home with his daughter, and he urged people across the country to watch over the children in their neighborhoods.
"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
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.
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 owner of the home where the girls were kept, Ariel Castro, was charged Wednesday with kidnap and rape.
Click here to read more about the investigation.
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