The mother of Amanda Berry, one of the three Ohio women rescued Monday after being tied up in a basement for nearly 10 years
, "died of a broken heart" after years of tirelessly searching for her kidnapped daughter.
Louwana Miller had been hospitalized for months for pancreatitis and other ailments, and ultimately died in 2006 at age 43 without ever learning her daughter was alive. Cleveland Councilwoman Donna Brady, who spent many hours with Miller, said she never gave up hope that her daughter was alive.
"She literally died of a broken heart," Brady told reporters.
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Neighbors helped rescue Berry, 27, along with Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, and a 6-year-old girl police say Berry gave birth to while in captivity, from a suburban Cleveland home where the women were reportedly held for the last 10 years after being abducted
in separate incidents between 2002 and 2004.
Berry identified her captor as the home's owner, Ariel Castro, 52. Castro and his two brothers, who do not live at the home, have been arrested for the alleged kidnapping, police said.
Berry went missing in 2003 at age 16. She was last seen after completing her shift at a Cleveland-area Burger King. Berry reportedly called her sister and told her she had found a ride home from work.
A week after her daughter's disappearance, Miller received an incoming call from Berry's cell phone. A man on the other end told Miller he was holding Berry and that she was safe. Police were never able to trace the call or identify the man.
The case captivated the Cleveland area and was one of the most infamous unsolved mysteries of its time there. Many believed Berry had died. So neighbors were skeptical when a shaking, crying woman emerged from a house claiming to be Amanda Berry.
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"She comes out and she says, 'Call 911. My name is Amanda Berry,'" Charles Ramsey, a neighbor who helped rescue Berry,
told Cleveland's ABC affiliate. "When she told me, it didn’t register until I got to callin' 911. And then I'm like 'I'm calling 911 for Amanda Berry. I thought this girl was dead.'"
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