AKRON, Ohio - The three women who were missing for a decade-plus before being rescued Monday evening likely endured a tremendous amount of psychological fear, according to a local expert.
Dr. Mary Myers, associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Akron, discussed her opinion on the "victimology" of Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight -- and the connection they may have developed with their captors.
"They had to do what the person said in order to stay alive, and they had to become close to that person in order to stay alive, especially if threats were used," Myers explained.
Myers, a retired Akron police captain and former hostage negotiator, believes it's likely the three women experienced the psychological phenomenon known as Stockholm syndrome -- where hostages express empathy or sympathy toward their captors.
"The victims depend on this person. They want to please this person. They placate to this person. The suspect wants to be loved and dominate the victims," Myers said.
Stockholm syndrome is named after a 1973 bank robbery in Sweden in which victims became attached to their captors and even defended them after they were released six days later.
Cleveland police would not say during a Tuesday news conference if the women were forced into sex acts, but Myers wouldn't be surprised if that happened. Police believe Berry had a baby girl while she was in captivity. It's believed the girl is now 6-years-old.
"There's the assumption that sexual activity is going on. They didn't have the choice of who they were going to have sex with," Myers explained.
Investigators told NewsChannel5 that chains and bondage were found in the basement of the Seymour Avenue home. A credible source also said the victims were at times kept tied up with chains and tape.
Many have wondered how many opportunities the victims had over 10 years or longer to escape. But Myers theorizes threats made to harm the women kept them from trying to get away.
"To have the courage to slip away, it took a tremendous amount of courage."
Myers also teaches a course on profiling serial killers in the fall.
A local woman remembers her own ordeal after watching Michelle Knight speak on a national TV program.
Cleveland-area residents reacted to Michelle Knight's first interview since she escaped from Ariel Castro's home, where she was held in captivity for 11 years.
Michelle Knight, who was held captive by Ariel Castro for 11 years, revealed details of what happened to her inside the convicted rapist and kidnapper's home in a national TV interview with Dr. Phil Tuesday.
An Ohio prison guard has resigned after an investigation about falsification of logs documenting checks on a death row inmate who later committed suicide.
Ohio's prison system has faced a glut of bad news in recent months, from inmate suicides to four homicides in a single prison in about a year, but long-term population growth trends are causing officials the most headaches.
Mary Jordan, a reporter for the Washington Post, will write a book for Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus about the horrors that happened inside the house on Seymour Avenue.
There are 238 sex offenders who live within a two-mile radius of the former home of late convicted kidnapper Ariel Castro, according to a public records search.
The warden will move from Correctional Reception Center south of Columbus to the same job at Madison Correctional Institution.
An Ohio bill to provide cash reparations and other assistance to the three women held captive in a Cleveland home passed the House Wednesday.