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Charles Ramsey, the Cleveland hero who helped rescue three women after a decade of captivity in his neighbor’s house, appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday morning in his latest interview.
Charles Ramsey, who has emerged an overnight sensation both for his good citizenship and animated on-camera commentary, told George Stephanopoulos via satellite that he had been living next door to Ariel Castro for a year but hadn’t seen any clues that Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight were being held inside.
Cleveland hero Charles Ramsey appeared on Good Morning America on Wednesday morning in his latest interview
On Monday, Amanda Berry got his attention while Ariel Castro was away and Charles Ramsey helped her out of the house.
Coverage of the kidnappings has featured prominently on the network morning shows. On GMA, George Stephanopoulos pressed Charles Ramsey on whether he had noticed anything awry next door prior to the women’s escape.
“Not one iota because I wouldn’t have been speaking to this dude,” said Charles Ramsey, noting how “scary” it was to learn what his neighbor had done.
“So either I’m that stupid or [he’s] that good,” Charles Ramsey added.
Jocelyn is the little girl born to Amanda Berry, one of three women imprisoned in a Cleveland home for a decade.
The 6-year-old girl is “happy and healthy” despite being brought up in captivity, authorities have revealed.
After kidnap victim Amanda Berry, 27, courageously escaped the home on Monday, she told her grandmother that the child is her daughter Jocelyn, who was born at Christmas six years ago.
Authorities believe that Jocelyn’s father is one of the three brothers arrested in connection with the kidnappings and they are now carrying out paternity tests to confirm their suspicions.
Jocelyn was home-schooled by her mother, possibly without the knowledge of the suspects, Ariel Castro, 52, and his two brothers Onil Castro, 50, and Pedro Castro, 54.
The girl, who escaped the home with Amanda Berry and two other missing women, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32, was pictured grinning in hospital alongside her mother and her aunt Beth.
Jocelyn is the little girl born to Amanda Berry, one of three women imprisoned in a Cleveland home for a decade
Jocelyn, who authorities said enjoyed popsicles while being examined by doctors, is photographed lightly touching her mother’s arm and showing off her missing two front teeth.
“She looks great, happy, healthy and ate a popsicle last night,” Cleveland Police Deputy Chief Ed Tomba said.
“Seeing her mother smile made her smile.”
Ed Tomba added that it was “a good possibility” that one of the three suspects was her father.
It is feared other babies were born inside the Cleveland house. At least five children may have born at the house, police sources told NewsChannel5.
One victim suffered up to three miscarriages because she was so malnourished, while other sources told WKYC the captors would beat the pregnant women, so that the babies would not survive.
It is unknown what happened to any children who were born at the home.
FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson told ABC TV that the three women had spent time together at Metro Medical Center hospital, where they were taken after being freed.
She described them as being in very good spirits and said it was obvious that they were very close.
“You could see that they had a bond, that they had been through this together,” Vicki Anderson said.
All three women were abducted between 2002 and 2004, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus were in their teens at the time of their kidnappings and Michelle Knight was 20 years old.
On Monday evening, Amanda Berry began screaming from behind the locked front door of the home and was helped out by a neighbor. She fled the home and called 911.
Authorities are now investigating how the horrors inside the home went undetected for so long.
Neighbor Israel Lugo said other neighbors had seen naked women crawling on all fours behind Ariel Castro’s house. Three men were in the garden and were controlling the women, he said.
“We thought it was funny at first, and then we thought that was weird so we called the cops,” neighbor Nina Samoylicz told CNN.
“They thought we was playing, joking, they didn’t believe us.”
Neighbors waited for police for two hours but no patrol cars showed up.
Cleveland police said that the department has no records of a call for service to that home.
But the claim is one of a number of stories to have emerged from neighbors who say they reported unusual goings-on at Ariel Castro’s Seymour Avenue, Cleveland home to local police who either didn’t respond or didn’t enter the house when they did show up.
French citizen Florence Cassez, who was jailed in Mexico in 2007 for 60 years for kidnapping, has been freed, after the Supreme Court ruled her rights were violated.
Florence Cassez had denied the charges and many irregularities were found in the case, including a staged televised police raid.
Three judges on a panel of five voted to have Florence Cassez released immediately.
The case provoked tensions between Mexico and France, where news of her release was widely welcomed.
Florence Cassez was driven to Mexico City’s international airport, where she boarded an overnight Air France flight to Paris.
Her mother, Charlotte Cassez, told French television the case had been full of suspense right to the end.
“It’s an explosion of joy. I can’t quite believe it,” she said.
In a statement, French President Francois Hollande said the decision marked the end of a “particularly painful period”.
“France thanks all those who, in Mexico as well as here at home, have fought so that truth and justice prevail.”
Francois Hollande spoke to Florence Cassez by phone on Wednesday evening. Details of the conversation have not been revealed.
Florence Cassez, who was jailed in Mexico in 2007 for 60 years for kidnapping, has been freed, after the Supreme Court ruled her rights were violated
“This is a historic day for Mexican justice,” said her lawyer Frank Berton.
Florence Cassez was arrested on December 8, 2005, at a ranch near Mexico City where several hostages were found.
She denied knowledge of the kidnappings, carried out by a gang – the Zodiacs – led by her Mexican then-boyfriend Israel Vallarta, who confessed.
The next day, Mexican TV showed what it described as live footage of a police raid, which it later transpired had been a reconstruction performed at the request of the media.
The Supreme Court judges ruled that the reconstruction had violated Florence Cassez’s rights.
The decision to release her has been sharply criticized by one of the hostages, Ezequiel Elizald.
Ezequiel Elizalde testified against Florence Cassez and has condemned the Supreme Court’s decision as “disgusting”, describing Mexico’s institutions as “filth”.
This was the second time that the Supreme Court had taken a vote on freeing Florence Cassez.
Last March, however, the judges decided against her release, despite acknowledging serious irregularities in the process.
When first convicted, Florence Cassez was jailed for 96 years, but, in 2009, a court of appeal reduced the term to 60 years.
French authorities tried to extradite her, but the move was blocked by the Mexican government.
Francois Hollande’s predecessor in the Elysee Palace, Nicolas Sarkozy, championed the case and repeatedly clashed with the Mexican government of then-President Felipe Calderon.
Diplomatic tensions reached a peak two years ago when Mexican authorities cancelled a high-profile cultural event in Paris.
At least 48 hostages are now thought to have died in a four-day siege at In Amenas gas facility in Algeria, as reports say that 25 bodies found at the complex on Sunday were all those of captives.
It had initially been unclear whether the bodies found were those of hostage-takers or staff at the facility.
A search is continuing at the In Amenas gas plant, where as many as 20 hostages remain unaccounted for.
Five suspected Islamist attackers were reportedly arrested on Sunday.
The Algerian authorities had said on Saturday that all 32 hostage-takers had been killed. The suspected organizer of the attack, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, has said in a statement that 40 militants took part.
The siege was ended in a raid by troops on Saturday. Officials say a definitive death toll will be released later.
Officials said the army launched its assault after Islamist militants began killing foreign hostages.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama have blamed “terrorists” for the hostages’ deaths.
And on Sunday French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described the hostage-taking as an “act of war”.
“What strikes me the most is that we’re saying <<hostage-taking>> but when there are so many people concerned, I think this is an act of war,” he told French TV.
At least 48 hostages are now thought to have died in a four-day siege at In Amenas gas facility in Algeria
As Western leaders condemned the kidnappings, Algerian Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi said Algeria would boost security at its energy installations without outside help.
“It is out of the question to allow foreign security forces to handle the security of our oil facilities,” he said, quoted by Algeria’s APS news agency.
During a visit to the affected plant, Youcef Yousfi said it would resume production within two days.
The private TV channel Ennahar said security forces had discovered the bodies of 25 hostages as they searched the complex for booby-traps and mines.
The militants had threatened to blow up the site and kill their hostages, officials said.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who is not thought to have been among the actual attackers, said his group had carried out the attack. He was speaking in a video message carried by the Mauritanian website Sahara Media.
The website said the video had been recorded on January 17 while the siege was still going on but not posted on the website.
It shows Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who has convictions in absentia for murder, kidnapping and terrorism, saying he was prepared to negotiate with Western and Algerian leaders if operations against Islamists in Mali were stopped.
In other developments:
- Six Filipinos were killed and four are missing, the government in Manila confirmed
- Three Britons were confirmed dead, and a further three are missing, feared dead. UK officials were “working hard” to locate the missing, said Foreign Secretary William Hague
- A Colombian citizen resident in the UK, Carlos Estrada, is thought to be among the dead, the Colombian president has said
- Japanese officials said they had no confirmation of the fate of 10 nationals who remained unaccounted for, despite reports that nine had died
- Romania’s foreign ministry said one of its citizens had died in hospital after sustaining severe injuries during the siege. Another Romanian has already been reported killed and as many as three others have been freed
- Two Malaysians are unaccounted for, as are five Norwegians
State news agency APS said 685 Algerian workers and 107 out of 132 foreigners working at the plant had been freed, citing interior ministry figures.
The nationalities of some of the hostages killed are still not known.
The crisis began on Wednesday when militants attacked two buses carrying foreign workers to the remote site in south-eastern Algeria. A Briton and an Algerian reportedly died in the incident.
The militants then took Algerians and expatriates hostage at the complex, which was quickly surrounded by the Algerian army.
A statement from the kidnappers said the assault on the gas plant was launched in retaliation for French intervention against Islamist groups in neighboring Mali.
However, France only decided last week to intervene militarily in Mali. Analysts say the assault on the gas facility was well-planned and would have required advance research, as well as possibly inside help.
Gunmen have kidnapped a security agent working for the Italian embassy in Yemen’s capital Sanaa.
The Italian man was taken to an unknown destination from a street near Italy’s embassy in south-west Sanaa, security and diplomatic sources have said.
Police have said they are trying to track down and identify the gunmen.
Gunmen have kidnapped a security agent working for the Italian embassy in Yemen's capital Sanaa
The Italian Foreign Ministry in Rome confirmed the kidnapping to the AP news agency.
Kidnappings of foreigners are common in Yemen and are usually resolved peacefully.
The majority of kidnappings are carried out by gunmen who use captives to make bargains with the Yemeni goverment.
Officials tend to blame tribesmen or gunmen liked to al-Qaeda for taking foreigners.
A French official working for the Red Cross was released earlier this month after being kidnapped in April.
A Swiss woman who was working as a teacher and seized by al-Qaeda militants in March remains a hostage.
Two American women tourists have been kidnapped by gunmen in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, according to security sources.
The American tourists were travelling in a small bus with three other tourists from St. Catherine’s monastery on Mount Sinai to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh when it was stopped by the gunmen.
One official told the Reuters news agency that the men wanted a ransom.
Bedouins kidnapped 25 Chinese workers in northern Sinai earlier this week, but released them unharmed after a day.
They were demanding the release of fellow tribesman who was jailed after the 2004 bomb attack at the resort of Taba that killed 31 people.
The Americans were reportedly travelling through the Wadi al-Sual area of Sinai, about 40 km (25 miles) from St. Catherine’s, when a vehicle carrying masked men armed with machine-guns forced the bus to stop.
The gunmen took the tourists’ money and valuables before grabbing the two women, forcing them into a vehicle and fleeing into the mountains.
Their Egyptian tour guide was also kidnapped, AFP news agency said.
The three other tourists who had been in the bus were left behind.
Police teams assisted by a military plane are searching for the Americans, state television reported.
One officer believed the kidnappings were meant to pressure the authorities to release Bedouins detained for their role in kidnapping the Chinese workers; others said the motive was financial.
Tribesmen in Sinai have been involved in a series of confrontations with security forces in recent months.
A gas pipeline from Egypt to Israel has also repeatedly been sabotaged, though Sinai’s tourist resorts have remained largely secure.