"Don't let me go:" Cops recall rescuing Cleveland captives

Officer Barbara Johnson will never forget the moment she knew 3 captives had been found after 10 years

PoliceOne Staff

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Four officers who helped the three captive women out of Ariel Castro’s home gave emotional testimonies Wednesday at a press conference at the Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association headquarters.

Officer Barbara Johnson retold the story of arriving at the home in which the girls had been imprisoned.

"Michelle hugged me first, then clutched me and said, 'Don't let me go,'” she said, referring to Michelle Knight. "You can't really describe how I felt...it rips the heart out of my chest."

Johnson said she spent six hours at the hospital with the women comforting them, according to Cleveland.com. She said no training could have ever prepared her for that assignment.

Officer Anthony Espada told those at the press conference he needed an iron will to hold back his emotions and articulate the situation to dispatchers.

“I've broke down [crying] a few times on the scene, and in private since then. Those three girls are my heroes...after what went through in that house all those years."

Castro is being held in jail on $8 million bond. He faces four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.

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