A year after Gina DeJesus went missing from her Cleveland neighborhood, her best friend, Arlene Castro, appeared on "America's Most Wanted" pleading for help to find DeJesus. Little did Arlene know her father had kidnapped the girl. The spring 2005 video clip from the popular crime series has resurfaced online, showing Arlene saying she was the last to see the then-14-year-old DeJesus before she disappeared 10 years ago.
Arlene Castro said on Thursday she had “no idea” that her father Ariel Castro had kidnapped DeJesus as well as Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight.
According to Castro’s 2005 account, she and best friend DeJesus were walking home from school together and had stopped at a pay phone to ask Castro’s mother’s permission to hang out. Castro, who at the time lived with her mother, Grimilda Figueroa, borrowed 50 cents from DeJesus to make the call, but her mother said she couldn’t go to her friend’s home that day.
"I told her I couldn't and she said, 'Well OK, I'll talk to you later.' And she walked," a teenaged Castro said in the video. The same video clip also mentioned Berry, who went missing one year earlier, and Knight, who had been last seen in August 2002.
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But after loaning her friend two quarters, DeJesus didn’t have any money for bus fare, according to Arlene's account in the “America’s Most Wanted” segment.
Since police reports indicate that DeJesus was last seen near the same pay phone in 2004, Castro was the last person to see the girl before her father, Ariel, drove up and asked DeJesus if she needed a ride home. Authorities said that Ariel Castro lured the girl into his car, kidnapped her and kept her hostage for over a decade. Upon her kidnapping, DeJesus was forced to join Berry and Knight in his Cleveland home, where he repeatedly sexually assaulted and abused them and kept them bound in chains in the basement.
On “Good Morning America” Thursday, Castro said she had “no idea” what her father had done because the two had a distant relationship, she said.
"Me and my father were never really that close," Arlene Castro said. "Every time we would talk, it would be short conversations: 'Hi, how are you? Let me know if you need anything.'"
Castro also pleaded to see her friend again so that she could apologize for her father’s behavior as well as catch up and introduce DeJesus to her children.
“I’m absolutely so, so sorry. I really want to see you, Gina, and I want you to meet my kids. I’m so sorry for everything,” she said. “I’m really disappointed, embarrassed, mainly devastated.”
DeJesus, along with Berry and Knight, were rescued on Monday after Ariel Castro’s neighbor, Charles Ramsey, heard Berry pounding on the Cleveland home she was forced to remain in for 10 years. Police rescued the three girls along with Berry's 6-year-old child on Monday.
Ariel Castro was arraigned on Thursday morning and had bond set at $8 million. He was charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.