Amanda Berry, who spent a decade in captivity after being abducted as a teenager in 2003, is now using her experience to encourage members of the U.S. Marshals Service to hold fast as they investigate missing children.
“You can be that person, the one my mom needed, the one there fighting alongside her, the one who never gave up,” she says in a video message for service members. “Thank you to the U.S. Marshals, task force members and all of their partners. I hope you never give up. My mom and I never did.”
She recounts her harrowing life experience as an abductee in the new video, used to train and motivate law enforcement officers.
“I could have easily fallen through the cracks if it wasn’t for my mom, who spent day and night trying to get law enforcement to take my case seriously,” she says in the message. “But not everyone has a mom as persistent as mine. So please, that’s where you come in. I need you to think of every single case as if it’s your own child.”
It follows the agency’s success with “Operation Safety Net” last year – which saw a Marshals-led task force track down and recover dozens of missing children in Ohio. About 20% of the children were human trafficking victims, authorities said at the time.
The operation recovered 25 children in its first two weeks, earning praise from Gov. Mike DeWine in September.
Berry, was kidnapped at 16 years old in 2003. Between 2002 and 2004 Castro also abducted Michelle Knight, 20 at the time, and Gina DeJesus, then-14. He beat and starved one of the victims until she miscarried multiple times.
He held them captive and raped and abused them until Berry broke free in 2013 and alerted police.
Castro was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 1,000 years in a 2016 plea deal that avoided the death penalty for hundreds of felony charges. He later committed suicide in his cell.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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