I have been a long time fan of true crime books, crime novels, in general really. I am fascinated by the subject and what makes people commit crimes. Interviewing Ann Rule, true crime author extraordinaire, was a highlight in my career. I am not squeamish. I have seen things at crime scenes that would turn most people green. I have seen video of the worst of human nature. I’m not afraid of much, other than the occasional large spider. I’m cautious but not a worrywart. Alert but not paranoid. I love scary movies. Gory movies, mysteries, thrillers, creepy flicks. I can watch alone in a dark room and go right to sleep without a care. My point is, it takes a lot to freak me out. The story out of Cincinatti, Ohio that broke May 6th of the three women held captive in a house by Ariel Castro for over ten years scares me to death. The thought of another human being who is sadistic enough to kidnap women, restrain them with chains and torture and rape them for years is horrifying. The rescue of these women dominated the news here and across the country, as it well should have. It reignited hope that other missing children could be alive and eventually come home to their heartbroken families. It made an instant celebrity of the man next door who helped kick in the front door of that house of horrors and free Amanda Berry, her six year old daughter born in captivity, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight. I cannot imagine what these women have endured. I do not want to. The abuse, fear, terror, pain, and hopelessness they must have felt over the last ten years is incomprehensible. The stories that have come from the house are among the most gruesome I’ve heard in my 20 plus years in news and 30 plus years of reading crime novels. I’m not certain death wouldn’t have been preferable. In the days that have followed their discovery, we’ve heard from first responders who couldn’t believe the women, whose names they’d heard every time the anniversary of their disappearance rolled around, were alive, from family of Castro, who can’t believe they are related to someone who is capable of this, and from the opportunistic, who with perfect hindsight, feel as if signs were overlooked and tips ignored, that would have led police to these women sooner. Who we haven’t heard much from, however, are the families of Berry, DeJesus, and especially Knight. Yes, there has been some, but the lack of it concerns me. Not because we are owed anything by the families. They have every right to demand and expect privacy. I fear we haven’t heard from them because they do not exist, or if they do, they just do not care anymore. By all accounts these girls, when they disappeared, were not angels. There are reports of drug use, premature sexual relationships, a distance from their families. But my god, who among us hasn’t broken a rule, done the wrong thing, made a bad choice? To think these girls became women under the heavy hand of a monster is sickening. And that now that they’ve seen the light of day for the first time in a decade, taken a breath of sweet freedom, eaten, bathed, slept – all of the things we take for granted – that there is no one to support them, hold them, tell them it will take time, a long time, but that everything will be okay and they are safe now – may be the most sickening part of all.