Cleveland kidnap victim Gina DeJesus gave a thumbs up as she arrived home on Wednesday before being hurried into her mother’s home shielded by family.
Gina DeJesus’ homecoming came hours after Amanda Berry made an emotional return to her loved ones following the young women’s courageous escape from ten years in captivity. Michele Knight, 32, and Amanda Berry’s 6-year-old daughter were also freed after the horrifying ordeal.
Hundreds of well-wishers gathered in front of the DeJesus property which was covered in balloons and signs, reading “Welcome home Gina”.
Gina DeJesus’ aunt Nancy Ruiz spoke on Wednesday and asked for the family to be given time to heal. She thanked those who had supported the family over the years along with the police and FBI for all their hard work.
Nancy Ruiz appealed to the public to be on the look-out for another missing girl Ashley Summers, who was snatched in 2007 from the same Cleveland neighborhood when she was 14.
She said: “There are not enough words to say or express for the joy we feel for the return of our family member Gina.
“We are asking for your support to be patient with us. Give us time and privacy to heal. When we’re ready, I promise you…we will talk to you.”
Gina DeJesus’ mother and father smiled and gave thumbs up to supporters.
“They never gave up hope. Felix never gave up hope that she was alive,” said neighbor Michael Pendershot, 47, who lives three houses down from the DeJesus family.
Everyone in the neighborhood said Gina DeJesus’s kidnapping in 2004 changed them in some way.
“After she went missing, my parents didn’t hardly let me out of the house. They never let me walk anywhere,” said Taydreet Maurosa, 20.
Taydreet Maurosa was just 11 when Gina DeJesus went missing. She said the case was in the back of her mind every day as she grew up.
Men wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “guardian angel” stood behind police tape in front of the property as a huge crowd applauded and cheered for the young woman.
Gina DeJesus, 23, arrived home wearing what appeared to be the same yellow, hooded sweatshirt that Amanda Berry had been seen in.
Amanda Berry, 27, was surrounded by police as she swept into the driveway of her sister’s home in Cleveland, Ohio in a motorcade this morning.
One officer carried her 6-year-old young daughter Jocelyn, in a white-hooded sweatshirt, through the back door of the house.
The house had been decked with balloons, flowers, teddy bears and banners which read “We love you Mandy”.
Crowds of neighbors cheered as her sister Beth Serrano appeared from her home minutes later.
Beth Serrano’s voice wavered as she thanked the public and media for their support over many years
She said: “We are so happy to have Amanda home. We request privacy to recover.”
Amanda Berry went missing in 2003 aged 16, a day before her 17th anniversary, but her family say they never gave up hope that she was still alive.
Six police motorcycle outriders escorted her to the house on W 129th street that was festooned with balloons and messages of goodwill.
Weeping friends and several cousins surged forward to the mini-van containing Amanda Berry and her 6-year-old daughter Jocelyn who was born in captivity.
One friend with tears streaming down her face, leaned into the car before it swept into the driveway of the home.
Many in the large crowd wept as they glimpsed Amanda Berry for the first time since she went missing.
Family friend Abby Turnvill said: “This is such a special day. Just to see her again is, like wow. I can’t wait to talk with her and catch up. We got a lot of catching up to do.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Amanda Berry heard her grandmother’s voice for the first time in a decade, with the moment being captured on camera.
Fern Gentry fought back tears as she spoke on the phone to her granddaughter, hours after the daring escape from a Cleveland house.