This weekend, Cleveland Police Detective Jennifer Ciaccia spoke with Patrol Officer Anthony Espada to pose the question that everyone is asking…what was it like to discover Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight on Monday, May 6, 2013? In the message below, Officer Espada touches on how it felt to be a part of the moment.
Patrol Officer Espada recount of response to Seymour Ave to discover Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.
May 11, 2013.
She gave radio call, she called our car. I responded – go ahead. “Female on line stating Amanda Berry – 10 years.” Acknowledged and asked, “Is she still on the line?” Dispatcher came back, “Still online giving info about captor, Ariel Castro.” We pull up, we see a crowd, like on the porch. We see this girl. She’s like raising her hand, holding a child. I’m looking at my partner – “Is it her?” He said, “I can’t tell.” We were pulling up closer and as soon as we pull up, my partner was driving, so she came up to the driver’s side. He looked up at me and he’s like, “It is her.” Just the emotion from that point that he confirmed it was Amanda was overwhelming.
We figured he might possibly be in the house because she kept pointing at the house. My partner asked if anyone was still inside. She said, “Yes. Gina DeJesus and another girl.” And it was like another bombshell with overwhelming force just hit me. I believe I broadcasted, “Gina might still be in the house.”
We immediately started running towards the house. As we were going up the steps, it was so quiet, like peaceful. Almost as if, I started thinking we are going to clear this top floor and no one’s gonna be there. Then you hear this scuffling – you know something’s going on in this room. I’m looking that way just waiting to see what’s going to happen and it was Michelle. She kinda popped out into to the doorway and paused there for a second. I mean, within moments she came charging at me. She jumped onto me…. She’s like, “You saved us! You saved us!” And I’m holding onto her so tight. And then within a few seconds I see another girl come out of the bedroom. I just look at her. I … you can immediately tell who it is….and I asked her, “What’s your name?” She said, “My name is Georgina DeJesus.” Very overwhelming. I mean it took everything to hold myself together. You know, I have Michelle in my arms…. And then you got Gina coming out. It was like one bombshell after another. That’s when I broadcasted, “2Adam23, we found them! We found them!”
Everybody was in the right place. It couldn’t have gotten any better than that, that day. I don’t feel like a hero. I’m just glad I was there, you know, just making sure they were safe. I feel so happy for them. It is just unbelievable. It goes through my mind every day. I couldn’t imagine the past 10-12 years what they went through. It just keeps playing back, in my mind, you know. I can still picture us just pulling up, seeing Amanda – couldn’t believe it. Her telling us Gina might be in the house – going in the house. I just keep replaying it and replaying it every day since it happened. I’m just glad just to be a part of it, all of the officers there on the scene that day. Everything just went so awesome, and well.