Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

'Please don't let me go,' Cleveland kidnap victim told officers

    Just Watched

    Life in captivity for Cleveland women

Life in captivity for Cleveland women 02:43

Story highlights

  • The first officers to arrive at the house speak about the emotional rescue
  • "It took everything to hold myself together," one officer says
  • Cleveland police release interview with the officers involved in the rescue

When officers arrived at Ariel Castro's home in Cleveland, a crowd had formed on the porch.

But where was the woman they came for? Where was Amanda Berry?

Then she stepped forward, holding a crying child. It was really her, the missing girl they had searched for for 10 years.

It is Amanda Berry, Officer Michael Tracy said.

    Just Watched

    First responders honored in ceremony

First responders honored in ceremony 03:05

    Just Watched

    John Douglas on the mind of a criminal

John Douglas on the mind of a criminal 01:57

"Just the emotion at that point of my partner confirming that it was Amanda ... It was overwhelming," Officer Anthony Espada recalled.

Source: Michelle Knight was Cleveland suspect's main 'punching bag'

    Cleveland police this week released the emotional video interviews of officers Espada, Tracy and Barbara Johnson, who helped in the May 6 rescue of the three women from Castro's home.

    The 11-minute video, which is posted on YouTube, provides the most graphic detail to date of the harrowing rescue. It's also a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse at the raw emotions of officers involved in the ordeal.

    Once they had Berry, they wondered who else was in Castro's home.

    Was the suspect in there? They asked Amanda, as the child continued to wail.

    "She says yes, Gina DeJesus and another girl," Espada said. "It was like another bombshell with overwhelming force hit me. We immediately started running toward the house."

    When they entered the home, it almost seemed peaceful, Espada recalled.

    As if nobody else was there. Nobody was in the basement. Nobody was downstairs.

    How the abductions happened

    And then they heard the sound of scurrying feet upstairs.

    "It was Michelle (Knight). She kind of popped out into the doorway," Espada said, his voice cracking with emotion.

    "She came charging. She was like. 'You saved us. You saved us.' And I am holding on to her so tight. And within a few seconds, I see another girl come out of the bedroom."

    He immediately recognized the girl, Espada said, probably from missing posters that date to 2004. But she looked thinner than he remembered. He asked the girl to say her name.

    She said her name was Georgina DeJesus, he recalled.

      Just Watched

      Gallek: Castro was so secretive

    Gallek: Castro was so secretive 01:20

      Just Watched

      Attorney: Ariel Castro 'is no monster'

    Attorney: Ariel Castro 'is no monster' 02:10

    "It was very overwhelming," Espada said. "It took everything to hold myself together."

    Inside Cleveland's haunted house

    One of the women also jumped into Johnson's arms, screaming at the female officer.

    "She was saying 'please don't let me go. Please don't let me go,'" Johnson said. "I said, 'Honey don't worry, I am not going to let you go."

    Johnson said Espada stared at her with an unreadable expression.

    We found them, Espada said.

    "I can't even explain the emotions we felt," Johnson said. "It was just unbelievable. It was surreal. The heaviness in the heart just lifted."

    Castro, 52, was arrested quickly after that. He is in jail on charges of kidnapping and rape, and is accused of snatching the three women between 2002 to 2004, and holding them ever since.

    His attorney has said he plans to plead not guilty.