They were living in hell, and Ariel Castro did all he could to make sure they'd never escape.
He tied and chained them up, removed handles from doors and replaced them with padlocks. He rigged entrances to the house with makeshift alarms, threatened them with a gun and fed them only once a day.
He covered windows to keep them out of view and sunlight out of their rooms.
But Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus focused on the light at the end of the long, dark tunnel.
They nurtured the faith that they would one day be free. They clung to each other. They persevered and emerged from years of hell to find new life.
Edward Snowden is in good health in Russia and his lawyer there is amenable to hammering out an ending that would satisfy all. This, according to his father's lawyer, Bruce Fein, who appeared on "Anderson Cooper 360" on Wednesday night.
He relayed the conversation he had with Russian lawyer Anatoli Cuchara.
"There may be a time, where it would be constructive to try and meet and see whether there can't be common ground that everyone agrees would advance the interest, the United States, Mr. Snowden, Lon, his father and the interest of Russia in trying to resolve this in a way that honors due process and the highest principles of fairness and civilization," Fein said.
Snowden is afraid he would not get a fair trial if he came back to the United States.
By Ashley Fantz, CNN
An American who has been imprisoned for nearly two years in Nicaragua will be freed Thursday, and all the charges he was convicted of will be vacated, according to members of his legal team and a judicial order they gave to CNN.
Jason Puracal, a 35-year old native of Washington state, had been serving a 22-year sentence for drug-related crimes in one of the Latin American country's most notorious prisons. He is one of 12 people ordered freed.
Since his arrest in 2011, Puracal had many vocal defenders who said the charges were baseless and there was not a shred of evidence presented at his trial to support the charges. Those defenders included prominent human rights activists, renown international attorneys, a former FBI investigator and a U.S. congressman.
As his attorneys got word of the release order, it was unclear if Puracal was aware that he was to be a free man, said his attorney Jared Genser.
“We are trying to get word to Jason, but it’s after hours in the prison,” he said. “But we can say this is very, very good news, and we’re pleased that justice can be had in Nicaragua.”
In August, Puracal spoke by phone with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, saying he has been imprisoned in a “hellhole” and that he was “100 percent innocent.”
“I don't know the reason that I'm here," Puracal said. "That's been a mystery from the very beginning. What the motives behind the police and the prosecution have been."
Wednesday’s order from the court was the result of an appeal hearing that concluded earlier this summer in which Puracal’s legal team argued for his release.
"The family is thrilled to hear the news that they are another huge step closer to bringing Jason home. There is one thing we have known all along over the past two years: Jason is innocent," said Eric Volz, a spokesman for Puracal's family
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan gives his first one-on-one interview since becoming the nominee.
Police say Chavis Carter shot himself in the head when he was handcuffed in the back of a police car. They demonstrate how it may have happened.
Olympian and U.S. soccer champ Hope Solo talks to Piers Morgan about her reputation in the media.
The former stepmother of the Wisconsin temple shooter talks to CNN’s Anderson Cooper about Wade Michael Page's life as a child, before he joined the military.
Kyung Lah shares what she saw in the courtroom when Jared Lee Loughner pleaded guilty to the mass shooting outside a Tucson, Arizona, supermarket.
Piers Morgan talks to a man who survived an encounter with a great white shark off Cape Cod.
The Trayvon Martin case takes a turn as the man who admitted to shooting him is charged.
"It's now a two-person race," says Newt Gingrich following Santorum's withdrawal from the field.
CNN's Anderson Cooper puts himself on the "RidicuList" for another on-air giggle fit.
Perhaps Crystal Harris didn't want bridesmaids wearing bunny ears. Or perhaps she got tired of people suggesting her fiance was the "old" in "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." Whatever the reason, it's official: Harris has called off her wedding to Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. Since much of the fascination about Hef and the Playboy Playmate centers around their 60-year age difference, today's Gotta Watch looks as some of our favorite May-December romances.
Harris makes "The RidicuList" - CNN's Anderson Cooper says he just doesn't get why Hefner's ex-fiancee would call off their big day. He managed to put her on "The RidicuList" with references to dogs and hydrants, orthopedic shoes and penicillin.
'Til death do us part – What's the secret to a successful marriage? Selflessly sharing the mic at a press junket? Polishing your spouse's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame without being asked? Here, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore say it's as simple as a Post-It note.
Donald and Melania – Before Donald Trump flirted with the idea of running for president, he was flirting with now-wife Melania. Here, she tells HLN's Joy Behar that she initially didn't want to give Trump her number. No, it wasn't because he wanted to see her birth certificate.
U.S. lawmakers are now calling for tougher firearms regulations after a report showed that more than 70% of Mexico's drug cartel weapons come from the United States. Violence associated with drug cartels has been a growing problem in Mexico, resulting in thousands of deaths. One of the more prominent ones was that of Mexican police chief, Martin Castro. His head was delivered to his colleagues in an ice box with a message from a powerful drug cartel in the region. In today's Gotta Watch, we feature some of our more compelling stories highlighting the continued violence stemming from drug cartels in Mexico.
Mexico's 'bravest woman' - When 20-year-old Marisol Valles Garcia became police chief in one the deadliest parts of the world, she was dubbed the “bravest woman in all of Mexico.” Her predecessor had been beheaded, and it was a job no one was willing to take. Now, she’s left the only place she knows – a place where beheadings, shootings and gangland killings have become commonplace.
It's that time of year. Recent grads are pouring into the world bright-eyed and full of commencement wisdom. These are a few of our favorite commencement speeches that may or may not contain worthy wisdom but will surely keep your attention.
School of hard knocks – You can bet these Harvard graduates in 2003 remember their graduation day regardless of how hung-over they might have been. When comedian Will Ferrell shows up wearing a boating outfit, it would be hard to forget.
The hunt for Osama bin Laden that went on for almost a decade led to a final mission that was completed in a matter of minutes. But how? The mission utilized specialized troops, heavy government coordination and extreme precision. Go behind the scenes of this tactical operation in today's Gotta Watch.
Night of the killing- What really happened the night the U.S. killed Osama bin Laden? Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence takes a close look at the operation that took down one of the world's most elusive and feared terrorist leaders.
From wedding pizzas to a "Royal Virility Brew," final preparations are continuing for the Royal Wedding. In one week, history will be made in Britain's first royal hoopla in decades. Whether you're a Brit or not, you'll love today's Gotta Watch blog, where we'll bring you some fun factoids about the wedding.
Prince William to be suited up on Savile Row - Savile Row is a London street known for its men's tailor shops. Fashion designer and bespoke tailor Ozwald Boateng takes CNN down Savile Row and discusses what Prince William will be wearing on his big day.
Under cold and overcast skies, a ferry pulled into the harbor in Kesennuma, Japan. The captain shouted to people on the shore to grab a rope and help tie down his boat.
With the dock underwater, crushed by Friday's tsunami, this is the only way the ferry has been able to return to service. Dozens of people, wearing masks and carrying bags, load onto the boat for the 20-minute trip to Oshima island. For many, this is the first time to get to their friends and loved ones who have been stuck on Oshima since the earthquake. American Paul Fales was one of the first passengers off the ferry from Oshima. A slight man of 25, he looked pale, cold and anxious as he made his way off.
He'd ridden out the massive earthquake in the elementary school where he was an assistant English teacher. High ground protected the students when the tsunami rushed in, and he was back in Kesennuma to see how his apartment had survived. In spite of the debris around him, he was confident.
"I think it will be fine, really," he said. But that short walk would prove challenging — the streets impassable and filled with water, debris and mud. A roof fell into the center of another street, and we couldn't get around it. We turned back again.
A voice called, "Paul!" A woman in a flannel jacket, with a hat jammed over her ears, ran across the street and hugged him. "You're OK!" she said. She started crying as she hugged him, and started to list their friends that she knew had survived. Rachel Shook is also an assistant teacher.
Queens of comedy – What do Brett Favre, Kim Kardashian and Betty White have in common? They're all in the crosshairs of the comedic legends featured on AC360 last night. These ball-busting women go at it with Anderson Cooper and he takes it all in stride even when he gets ribbed about his pasty complexion.
Weren't able to tune in for CNN's and HLN's prime-time programming Monday night? Hey, we understand, which is why we're giving you a chance to catch up on "In Case You Missed It."
On "AC 360°," guest host Dr. Sanjay Gupta took a closer look at the case of author Phillip Greaves, who was arrested on obscenity charges Monday in Florida.
His book, "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover's Code of Conduct," has sparked outrage.
But do Greaves' First Amendment rights protect him from prosecution? Gupta asks Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County, Florida, and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin for their take on the situation.
Later in the show, Gupta addresses whether Michael Vick should be allowed to own another dog – now, or ever again. Gupta is joined by Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, who takes what some may consider to be a surprising stance on Vick's statements.