The Cleveland Kidnappings

Between the years of 2002 and 2004 a man named Ariel Castro kidnapped three women. A 21 year old Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry who was taken a day before her 17th birthday, and a 14 year old named Georgina DeJesus. They were all kidnapped after accepting a ride from him. He then drove them to his home, lured them in, and held them captive in his home home. The women wrote diaries expressing their anger, and speaking of forced sexual conduct, anticipating abuse, dreams of escape, and how they felt like they were treating like animals. They were only fed one meal a day and were allowed two showers a week at most. Castro had also impregnated Knight about 5 timed but had induced miscarriages each time through starvation and beatings. In December of 2006 though, Amanda Berry gave birth to a daughter while inside the house. DNA testing has been done and the father is in fact Ariel Castro. In May of 2013 about a decade after their kidnappings, Berry and her 6 year old daughter were found in Castro’s home. After escaping with the help of some neighbors Berry called the police. Police officers then entered Castro’s house and the Knight and DeJesus were then saved. Castro was then charged with 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, 2 counts of attempted murder, and other charges totaling 937 counts. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, plus 1,000 years with no opportunity for parole. After serving only 34 days in prison, Castro was found dead due to suicide.

The entire case, especially Castro’s suicide sparked a l lot of reaction on twitter and other social media outlets. With each step of the case gatekeeping, and citizen journalism were involved. People often kept up with the status of the case, and would tweet their opinions. For example one tweet written by @TheReeealDirk said “Ariel Castro found hung in his prison cell… best news I’ve heard in a while.” You can see some other tweets found here. These citizens are involved in their own gatekeeping because they decide the amount on information they want to put out there involving this case, they can be opinionated, and they can post it in whatever means they feel appropriate.

The victims are also taking their own part in citizen journalism. They have set up their own website which you can find here, with information about themselves, how their life is now, answer frequently asked questions, and a link to follower their twitter account. Their twitter account can be followed at @clevelandkidnap and have 9,568 followers. On the website you can check up on old news from the case, over 200 videos you can view, interviews, and much more. There is also information about Michelle Knight’s book “Finding Me” which is set to be released this May. Citizens can also share these stories, pictures, or videos through their twitter or FaceBook.



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