WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – One year after rescuing Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight from inside the Cleveland home of Ariel Castro, the man who heard Berry’s screams, Charles Ramsey, is still beating himself up for not noticing the problem sooner.
It’s strange, really. Ramsey was lauded as a hero, and rightfully so, and yet he can’t stop asking himself the question: What if I had noticed sooner?
Here’s an account of how Ramsey helped free the women in May 2013, via USA Today:
“I heard screaming,” Ramsey told WEWS-TV. “I’m eating my McDonald’s. I come outside. I see this girl going nuts trying to get out of a house.”
Berry said she was being held captive and needed to get out of the house. Ramsey said the door would only open wide enough for a hand to fit through, so they kicked out the bottom and made enough space for her to escape. Berry came out and brought a young girl with her.
Berry identified herself and quickly called 911. “I’m Amanda Berry. … I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for 10 years. And I’m here. I’m free now.”
Berry said more women were in the house and police arrived and freed Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight within minutes of Berry’s call.
Ramsey elaborated on that inescapable feeling to the Junkies, on 106.7 The Fan on Monday morning.
“I’m just trying to grab hold of it right now,” Ramsey said.
“It was a year later, and I’m still having a hard time fathoming, because I can’t understand what did I miss when I first moved there? You know what I mean? What signs did this dude give that I didn’t pick up on? Like how did I fail as a human being, in other words,” he said. “That’s how I look at it. Because there’s no way in hell – I know I’m a good judge of character as anything – no way is this dude smarter than me. And if he is, then that means you’re more diabolical, and that’s just bizarre.”
“That’s amazing to me,” host Eric Bickel said. “So you do this sort of heroic thing, no doubt, heroic thing – you saved this woman – and yet you’re still beating yourself up for not doing it earlier?”
“That’s what I’m saying, bro,” Ramsey replied. “I’m never going to let this go, bro, because, see, if I could have even heard a scream or a yell or something, I’d have acted,” Ramsey said. “You know what I mean? Now think about it. What if there wasn’t a window of opportunity? Those girls would still be in that basement right now; you wouldn’t be talking to me; I’d be a dishwasher at Hodge’s Restaurant, and life would go on.”
Ramsey’s words would have to be dumped (bleeped out, essentially) explicit content during the interview.
In the interest of the story, here’s a heavily edited version of what Ramsey said which didn’t make the radio airwaves:
“So you were living there for a year, and you never thought there was anything shady going on at that house?” Lurch asked.
“Bro, my gut feeling told me something was shady, but a gut feeling is not tangible items, you know what I mean?” Ramsey said. “So they labeled me a nosey neighbor, because I kept on asking ‘Why is that guy’s house boarded up, and it’s August? You got no air conditioning unit coming out of the windows, and you got no central air unit hooked up through the house; so how do you deal with that heat?’
You know what they told me? ‘It’s a Puerto Rican thing, and you wouldn’t understand it.’
You know I what I told them? ‘I’m from Africa. So there’s not one go***mn person on this planet that can take heat like a [redacted].’
“Sorry about that. Yea, yea, hit the dump button.
“Yea, you couldn’t be more correct on that,” Cakes said.
“We did,” Lurch said. “That would have been trouble.”
“Radio pro!” Cakes said.
“So you tell the FCC I said it,” Ramsey said. “They got a problem, come to me.”
“Trust us, if it comes to that, we’re gonna point the finger at you,” Cakes said.
“The reason why I got to say it like this is so you understand where I’m coming from,” Ramsey said. “I had to use the N-word, you know what I mean? To me, it’s not a bad word. It’s like ketchup and mustard. It can’t even be used in the wrong context. It’s just a word. You understand where I’m coming from? I won’t say it again, but I want you to know I got no problem with it. I’ve been called that for 44 years, so it’s alright.”
Ariel Castro, the man who sexually abused the three women while holding them in captivity in his home for 10 years, was sentenced to life in prison in August.
He later hanged himself in his prison cell.
Ramsey has published a book of his account of the rescue — entitled “Dead Giveaway: The Rescue, Hamburgers, White Folks, and Instant Celebrity … What You Saw on TV Doesn’t Begin to Tell the Story” — which can be purchased here on Amazon.