The man who made a career out of bringing wanted criminals to justice and used his long running television show to help return more than 50 kidnapped children, says it’s “extraordinary” three abducted women escaped their captors after more than a decade.
America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh said Amanda Berry, one of the three kidnapped women, is a “hero” for risking her life to cry for help from the Cleveland house she had been held in for years.
“You very rarely hear of a missing child, missing adult being brought back alive,” Walsh said in an interview with Global News on Tuesday.
Walsh’s own eight-year-old son, Adam, was kidnapped near his family’s Hollywood, Fla. home in 1981. He was found murdered two weeks later.
Berry’s cries for help were heard by Charles Ramsey, a nearby neighbour, who came to her rescue. Her escape and terrified call to 911 also helped to free Georgina “Gina” DeJesus, Michelle Knight and a six-year-old girl, believed to be Berry’s daughter fathered by one of the captors.
Walsh believed it was the safety of the little girl that drove Berry to try to break free from the “house of hell.”
“Every minute of your existence is about survival,” Walsh said. “For Amanda to say ‘I’m going to take a chance,’ with her little six-year-old daughter, ‘I’m going to take a chance to save my life,’ is extraordinary.”
Walsh said Berry was 20 years old when she disappeared and no one was looking for her. He had also profiled Knight’s and DeJesus’ disappearances on his show.
Walsh said the three women are alive because of Amanda Berry, calling her “the real hero here.”
Walsh now hopes the women all get the help they need to cope with their decade-long ordeal.
He said he’s spoken with other kidnapping survivors, such as Jaycee Duggard and Elizabeth Smart, and said they have been able to move on because they got the treatment they needed to move on and stayed out of the public eye until they were ready to speak out.
He believes all three women and the little girl will be able to move forward with their lives.
“These women have a long road, they’ll have nightmares for the rest of their life, but, I think they’re going to make it because they were strong enough to survive for 10 years,” he said.
*With files from Eric Sorensen in Washington, D.C.