Who is Amanda Berry?
American woman Amanda Marie Berry was born in Cleveland, Ohio USA, on 22 April 1986, making her zodiac sign Taurus. She was a day away from turning 17 when she was kidnapped by the late American convict Ariel Castro on 21 April 2003, who held her prisoner for 10 years; Ariel also kidnapped two other girls Michelle Knight and Gina de Jesus, tortured and sexually abused all three until Amanda managed to escape with her six years old daughter, whose father is Ariel.
Education and early life
Amanda was raised alongside her older sister Beth Serrano in Cleveland, by their mother Louwana Miller and father Johnny Berry; Louwana struggled for the case of her missing daughter to gain more media coverage, but died before Amanda was able to escape Ariel.
Amanda studied at a local high school in Cleveland, and was a highly active teenager as she enjoyed running track and playing various sports with her peers, including soccer and basketball; she also took dance lessons and appeared in a couple of school plays. She supported herself financially by working at a local Burger King, and it was while returning home from work late at night that Ariel kidnapped her.
Amanda gave birth to her and Ariel’s daughter Jocelyn on Christmas Day 2006, in a small inflatable swimming pool; Michelle was ordered to assist Amanda, while Ariel threatened to kill her if Jocelyn didn’t survive.
The baby wasn’t breathing when she was born, but Michelle was successful at resuscitating her. Ariel occasionally took the girl outdoors, including to meet his mother; Jocelyn referred to Ariel as ‘daddy’, and she called his mother ‘grandmother’.
Amanda taught Jocelyn to read and write while in captivity.
Amanda was able to contact Ariel’s neighbors on 6 May 2013, who helped her escape from the house in which he was keeping her and the two other girls, in captivity; Amanda later told the police that she had realized that Ariel had forgotten to lock the ‘big inside door’, even though the exterior part of the door was bolted. She screamed for help and neighbor Angel Cordero heard her, but as he spoke little English, he asked another neighbor Charles Ramsey to help him, and the two men broke a hole into the door through which Amanda and her daughter were able to escape.
Amanda asked another neighbor to use their phone and then contacted the police; officers Barbara Johnson, Michael Tracy and Anthony Espada then broke into Ariel’s house and rescued the two other women, and all three, as well as Amanda’s daughter, were taken to the MetroHealth Medical Center. Only Michelle was kept at the hospital for four days, while the others were discharged a day later.
Arrest and trial
Ariel was arrested in a McDonald’s parking lot around two hours after the police had rescued the women, and was on 8 May charged with three counts of rape and four counts of kidnapping; the police also interrogated Ariel’s brothers Onil and Pedro, but it was soon revealed that they had nothing to do with the kidnappings, nor did they know about them.
Ariel’s first court appearance was on 9 May, and bail was set at $8 million; the prosecutors wanted a death sentence, and were planning to add a number of other charges, including assault, attempted murder and aggravated murder, for forcing Michelle to suffer a miscarriage multiple times. On 7 June, he was charged on 329 counts but only for the period from 2002 through 2007, as the investigation was still ongoing; he was later charged on 977 counts, including 446 of rape and 512 of kidnapping, but Ariel still pleaded ‘not guilty’.
Ariel Castro as well as a few others arrested related to the kidnapping of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight…they found chains in the house, as well as digging evidence in the backyard.
His lawyers were able to persuade him to plead guilty to 937 charges on 26 July, as a way to avoid the death sentence; Ariel was sentenced to life behind bars on 1 August, plus additional 1,000 years without the possibility of parole. He forfeited all his belongings; his house was to be demolished, and he was also fined $100,000.
Ariel killed himself by hanging with his bed sheet at the Correctional Reception Center on 3 September 2013, only a month after he was sentenced; he was 53 – his remains were cremated.
Most of Ariel’s family disowned him after he was arrested, and many publicly apologized to the three women; his nephew Jeremi J. Alicea was arrested in January 2014, and charged with 22 counts of child pornography.
Life after escape
On 9 July 2013, the three women released a video statement in which they thanked all those who had helped them; by that time, more than $1 million was collected to help them start a new life. Amanda was gifted a classic Chevrolet Monte Carlo by her grandfather, which he had promised her before she was kidnapped; free restoration was offered for the car by several automotive shops.
Michelle gave an interview to the magazine “People”, revealing that she had changed her name and had several tattoos as a way to cope with what had happened. She also stated that her son, whom she had before the kidnapping, had been adopted, but that she wanted to wait more before contacting him. Michelle stated that her plan was to open a restaurant; she married in 2016.
John Marshall High School presented Amanda and Gina with honorary diplomas in 2015, and the two women are still today close friends. Amanda began working at the TV station WJW in Cleveland in February 2017, and is in charge of hosting a segment about missing people; she reunited with Charles Ramsey in April 2019, six years after he had helped rescue her.
Five books have been published about the kidnappings and the trial, with only one having been authored by the three women: “Hope: A Memoir of Survival In Cleveland”, published in 2015. The crime movie about the events “Cleveland Abduction” was released in 2015, and the documentary movie “The Cleveland Kidnappings” followed in 2021.
Appearance and wealth
Amanda’s age is 37. She has brown eyes and hair, is 5ft 7ins (1.71m) tall and weighs around 150lbs (67kgs).
Amanda’s net worth’s been estimated at over $500,000, as of July 2023.