NBCNEWS.COM - The three women held in a Cleveland house for a decade have told investigators of rapes, pregnancies and miscarriages during their captivity, police sources told NBC News on Wednesday. The police chief said they had been bound with chains and ropes.
Police were seeking corroboration of the women's accounts where possible, the sources said. Police planned to make some details public later in the day, the sources said, including how one of the women managed to break free and scream for help Monday night before a neighbor came to her rescue.
Another woman, Gina DeJesus, gave the first details of her capture, the sources said: She told investigators she was abducted on her way home from school one day in 2004 when a man pulled up in a van and casually said, "You need a ride? I'll give you a ride home from school."
Police have said that one woman, Amanda Berry, gave birth to a daughter six years ago in captivity. The women have told investigators that they were kept isolated from each other in locked rooms, the sources said. One source cautioned that it was hard to be sure the women's memories were completely accurate after such a long time in captivity.
Police were preparing charges against the three brothers they arrested Monday night, Police Chief Michael McGrath told NBC News. He said investigators had confirmed that the women were held with chains and ropes, and allowed only "once in a while" into the backyard.
He said that the women's physical well-being was "very good, considering the circumstances."
Cleveland authorities said that a search of the house had revealed no human remains.
Berry, who broke out of the house with the neighbor's help and frantically called 911, was driven Wednesday with police escorts to a family home in Cleveland, where a cheering crowd greeted her and the front porch was covered in balloons, ribbons, teddy bears and posters with messages of support.
Berry's sister appeared briefly in front of the house, asked for privacy for the family and said: "We appreciate all you have done for us.
The three brothers arrested — Ariel, Pedro and Onil Castro — are talking with police, McGrath said, but he declined to give details.
The women, DeJesus, Berry and Michelle Knight, were reported missing in Cleveland between 2002 and 2004. Berry made a break for freedom Monday night, kicking the door and screaming, and a neighbor, Charles Ramsey, helped free her. Berry is now 27, DeJesus 23 and Knight 32.
In her 911 call, Berry pleaded with the dispatcher to send help: "I'm Amanda Berry. I've been on the news for the last 10 years."
McGrath said that the house, a shabby, two-story dwelling on Cleveland's West Side, had come to the attention of police only twice — in 2000, when Ariel Castro called about a fight on the street, and in 2004, when Castro, a school bus driver, had left behind one of his passengers.
The chief's account conflicts with that of at least one neighbor, Israel Lugo, who told MSNBC on Tuesday that he called the police in 2011 after his sister spotted a woman with a baby in the home, banging on the window "like she wants to get out."
McGrath said that his department would have a record of such a call and that there was none. He said that he was "absolutely confident" that his officers did not miss a chance to free the three women.
Ariel Castro, 52, was accused in 2005 of attacking his former wife, The Plain Dealer newspaper reported. Her lawyer at the time said that although the ex-wife had custody of their children, Castro "frequently abducts daughters and keeps them from mother,'' the newspaper reported.
Khalid Samad, a community organizer, told NBC News that Castro had accompanied him on searches for the missing women.
A cousin of the three men, Maria Castro Montes, told NBC News that the family never had reason to suspect the three brothers, who she said had grown more distant from the family in recent years.
"We are just so sorry for everything that they had to endure," she said of the three kidnapped women, "and we want them to know that if they ever need anything, we are here for them."
First lady Michelle Obama told NBC News that the kidnappings were "probably a parent's worst nightmare."
"These families are going to have to wrap their arms around these young women and make sure that they get all the help and support they need so that they will go on and lead healthy, normal lives," she told TODAY. "We're just grateful that they're safe."