Almost exactly a year later, they were joined by DeJesus, then all of 14 years old.
They remained in that hell until Monday evening, when Berry screamed for help. Hearing her cries, Ramsey and Cordero kicked in a door to help her escape.
According to Cordero, Berry's 6-year-old daughter ran out of the house too, wearing only a diaper and a sullied shirt. Police are conducting a DNA test to determine the child's paternity.
"Help me, I am Amanda Berry," Berry begged a 911 operator from Ramsey's house. "I've been kidnapped, and I've been missing for 10 years. And I'm here, I'm free now."
Cleveland police Chief Michael McGrath told NBC's "Today" show that the women were bound and that there were "chains and ropes in the home."
There were no apparent constraints Monday, the law enforcement source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation said. Yet Knight and DeJesus didn't run out of the house with Berry although they could have, the source said, describing them as brainwashed and fearful.
'Ariel kept everybody at a distance'
So how did this all happen in an urban neighborhood? Did Castro, a former school bus driver and upbeat and "outgoing" musician, according to one bandmate, keep such a secret from not only his neighbors but his family, as police allege?
Soon after the three women were found, Castro and two of his brothers who were with him were taken into custody.
Over the next two days, authorities officials "found no facts to link" Onil and Pedro Castro to the kidnappings -- though both brothers will appear in Cleveland Municipal Court on Thursday related to outstanding warrants on misdemeanor cases on other matters.
"Ariel kept everybody at a distance," Tomba said of the suspect, explaining why even his brothers and other family members (Castro talked on Facebook about having five grandchildren) apparently were in the dark.
Castro has been talking to investigators since Tuesday, as have the three young women police say he kidnapped and raped.
After those conversations, Tomba said he doesn't believe there are other victims -- including Ashley Summers, who was 14 when she went missing in the same part of Cleveland in 2007 -- or anyone other than Castro involved.
And since Monday, law enforcement personnel have combed through Castro's Seymour Avenue home -- which Tomba said was in "disarray" when officers first went in -- and removed more than 200 items that they hope will let them piece together what happened.
Additionally, FBI agents searched a boarded-up home two doors down after obtaining information over the past few days tying that building to the case, the deputy police chief explained.
Second-guessing if more could have been done
As they investigate, authorities are facing second-guessing as to whether any of this could have been prevented. Some comes from neighbors who say they contacted police about suspicious activity on Castro's property such as reports of screaming and naked women in his backyard. Authorities say they never got any such calls.
In fact, police say they had only been to Castro's house twice, once after he called about a fight on his street and in 2004 to investigate an incident in which he was accused of leaving a child alone on a bus. No one answered at the home, and investigators later interviewed him elsewhere, police said.
And according to court documents from 2005, Castro's former common-law wife accused him of repeatedly abusing her, including breaking her nose twice, breaking two ribs, dislocating her shoulder twice and knocking out a tooth. A judge granted a protection order but lifted it three months later.
Tomba, for one, said he doesn't think authorities dropped the ball.