On Monday afternoon, Cleveland hero Charles Ramsay discovered and rescued three women who had been missing for a decade, including Amanda Berry, who was kidnapped at age 16. In light of the discovery of the three missing women, a 9-year-old article has resurfaced detailing a psychic who claimed, in no uncertain terms, that Amanda Berry was dead.
In early 2003, then-16-year-old Amanda Berry went missing from her Cleveland area home. After more than a year of desperate searching, Berry’s mother Louwana Miller consulted a psychic, hoping to hear that her daughter was alive and well, according to a 2004 Cleveland Plain Dealer article that was republished on Tuesday.
Miller contacted Sylvia Browne, a psychic who appeared weekly on “The Montel Williams Show.” Miller traveled to New York for a taping of the show, where Browne told her matter-of-factly that Amanda Berry had been dead for quite some time.
“She’s not alive, honey,” Browne said. “Your daughter’s not the kind who wouldn’t call.” Browne also stated that she had a vision of Amanda Berry’s jacket in a dumpster “with DNA on it.”
On the air, Miller conceded that Browne may be right and that her daughter was dead.
“Please don’t misunderstand me. I still don’t want to believe it. I want to have hope but, after a year and a half, what else is there?” Miller said. “It seems like the God-honest truth. My daughter would always call home.”
The truth, however, is that Amanda Berry was still alive, though she would not be discovered for almost nine more years.
On Monday, Berry and two other missing women — Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight — were discovered in relatively good health as captives in a Cleveland home. Homeowner Ariel Castro, 52, and his two brothers have been arrested as suspects in the case.
In light of Amanda Berry’s discovery, many of the girl’s supporters have lashed out at Browne over Facebook, claiming that she destroyed Miller’s hope in her daughter for profit.
"I remember you on Montel Williams telling the family of Amanda Berry she was dead," one commenter wrote on Browne's Facebook. "What do you have to say for yourself? What a horrible horrible thing to say to a family holding on to nothing but hope and faith."
"Can you admit that you're a hack now?" asked another.
This is not the first time Browne has been labeled a fraud. In 2007, Guardian writer Jon Ronson sharply criticized her history of incorrect predicitons in an in-depth interview.
For now, Browne has not made a comment on her false statements regarding Amanda Berry.
Eric Brown is an IBTimes political reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.