Profile: Amanda Berry, Georgina DeJesus and Michele Knight


Three young American women who had been missing for about a decade have been found alive in the city of Cleveland, Ohio.

Below are details of what is currently known about the circumstances of the separate disappearances of Amanda Berry, Georgina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.

Amanda Berry

image captionAmanda Berry (r) has now been reunited with her sister

She vanished on 21 April 2003 after leaving her job at a Burger King in Cleveland at about 19:30 - the day before her 17th birthday.

Amanda had managed to call her sister to tell her she was getting a ride home just a few blocks away - but never made it.

The FBI at the time described her as having piercings in her ears and an eyebrow, and a scar on her lower abdomen.

The desperate search in the following years was too much for her mother, Louwana Miller, who died in 2006.

"She literally died of a broken heart," Cleveland councillor Dona Brady said.

In 2009, the FBI and Cleveland police said they were pursuing hundreds of leads in the disappearance of Amanda and Georgina DeJesus, saying the cases may be linked.

In 2012, a man contacted the local authorities, claiming he had a tip about where to look for Ms Berry's remains in Cleveland.

The site was dug up - but it proved to be a false lead. The man was later sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail for making a false report and obstructing justice.

All three women escaped on Monday, when a neighbour heard someone - it turned out to be Amanda - screaming inside a house just south of the city centre.

Georgina DeJesus

image captionThe family had held a vigil for Gina every year

She was last seen near a payphone in Cleveland in mid-afternoon on 2 April 2004 as she was returning home from school with a classmate. She was 14.

The girls had called the friend's mother asking for a sleepover at the DeJesus house - but the mother said no. The two then parted ways.

Describing the missing girl, the FBI said Georgina - known to her friends and family simply as Gina - had a birthmark on her right leg and pierced ears.

In 2006, two men were held for questioning over the disappearance. They were later released after police did not find Georgina's body at their property.

Later that year, police dug up a concrete garage floor in the city and used a sniffer dog after receiving a tip about where to look for the girl's remains. But - again - it was a false lead.

Despite this, Georgina's cousin, Sylvia Colon, on Tuesday told the BBC that the family "never gave up hope".

"Gina's mother... led the crusade; she knew her daughter was alive. She felt it as a mother."

"She [Gina] was very close to her parents and her siblings. They enjoyed a very close relationship. Never once did we believe she had run away.

"Every year there was a vigil for Gina. There were memorials outside the house. We were living every day in the hope she would come home - and she did," Ms Colon added.

Michelle Knight

image captionMichelle Knight was not officially registered as missing in Ohio

Michelle Knight went missing in Cleveland in 2002 and was believed to be between 18 and 20 at the time.

Unlike the other two women, little is known about the circumstances of her disappearance, which did not attract much attention in the local media.

Michelle was not officially registered as missing at the Ohio Police Missing Persons website.

This was because her family believed that she had probably left on her own as she was angry that her son was removed from her custody, her grandmother, Barbara Knight, was quoted as saying by the website.

The grandmother added that her daughter, Barbara Knight, believed she had last seen Michelle several years ago in a van with an older man at a shopping plaza in Cleveland.

However, Barbara Knight told the Plain Dealer newspaper she never believed she would have vanished without a trace of her own accord.

Barbara Knight said that long after police stopped searching, she papered Cleveland's West Side with fliers, and that even after she moved from Cleveland, she would often return to continue the search on her own.

She also said that she believes she once saw her daughter walking with an older man at a shopping plaza on West 117th Street several years ago.

When the woman trailed behind her companion, he would grab her by the arm and pull her along, Knight said. She said that she yelled Michelle's name, but the woman did not turn round.