Criminal Justice Update
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Criminal Justice Update

Pay attention to surroundings, survivor says

Gina DeJesus, who was abducted and held captive with two other girls for more than nine years in Cleveland,  urged the attendees of the May 20 in Reynoldsburg for National Missing Children’s Day to be more observant and ask more questions about things they see going on around them.

“The three of us were locked in that house and sexually abused for nearly a decade,” she said. “We were hidden in plain sight.”

Ariel Castro captured DeJesus, Amanda Berry, and Michelle Knight on separate occasions by offering them rides home. DeJesus was 14 when she was taken. On May 6, 2013, Berry was able to escape and call for help.

“It is very hard for me to stand up in front of you, in front of cameras, but I want to tell you something very important,” DeJesus said. “Please be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention if something doesn’t look right. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to get involved. … I have no doubt that right now there are children being held against their will.”

The Missing Person’s Unit of the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) continues to seek information on children who have been missing for decades.

The recently released “2016 Missing Children Clearinghouse Annual Report” provides statistics on the more than 19,000 children who were reported missing last year in Ohio. Almost 80 percent of them were recovered within 24 hours. By the end of the year, 98 percent of them had been recovered.