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.
[Updated at 12:06 p.m. ET] A hostage-taking incident in the French city of Toulouse has ended with shots fired, the gunman wounded and the last two remaining hostages freed, police union spokesman Christophe Crepin said Wednesday.
The gunman, who said he was with al Qaeda, took four people hostage at a bank five hours earlier, police said.
He released one of them, a woman, after about three hours, Crepin said, and a second hostage was released about an hour after that
[Posted at 6:15 a.m. ET] A man was holding four people hostage Wednesday in a bank in the southern French city of Toulouse, authorities said.
The incident occurred at the CIC bank.
The man fired one shot, and police are at the scene, police said.
The Ogden, Utah, Police Department says an armed man posted Facebook status updates from his phone while engaged in a 16-hour standoff with them over the weekend.
Jason Valdez, 36, issued six status updates, added 15 friends and responded to numerous comments posted by worried family and friends while police were engaged in a siege at an Ogden motel Saturday morning. Police say the person in the standoff and the person making those updates was Valdez.
"I'm currently in a stand off wit these shady [expletive] from old, kinda ugly but ready for whatever, I love u guyz and if I don't make it out of here alive that I'm in a better place and u were all great friends," Valdez posted at 1:23 a.m. via an Android phone.
The incident started when police officers attempted to serve a felony warrant for failure to appear in court on a drug-related charge and Valdez barricaded himself in the motel room, Ogden police Lt. Danielle Croyle said.
Israel is back in contact with a mediator who is trying to broker a deal for the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.
"There was a renewal of contact with the German mediator," Netanyahu said in a radio interview Sunday.
Seven people have been arrested and two more are sought in a series of brutal, anti-gay hate crimes in the Bronx, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Friday.
Three victims were kidnapped, held against their will and tortured. A fourth was beaten and robbed.
The string of attacks, which began over the weekend, allegedly was sparked when members of a street gang learned that an aspiring member was gay.
A policeman stands guard in street where Mexican tourists were kidnapped Thursday.
Gunmen have abducted a busload of tourists in Acapulco, Mexico, a spokesman for the Guerrero State attorney general's office told CNN on
The 22 people were captured by an armed gang Friday night. All those aboard the bus were Mexican nationals from the neighboring state of Michoacan.
There were "a lot of hugs" and "a lot of tears" among employees at Discovery Channel headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, on Thursday - one day after police shot and killed a man there who was holding three hostages.
"The healing process" has begun, said David Leavy, a company spokesman. "Yesterday knocked us off the horse. But we're back in the saddle today."
Leavy said the company's employees spent much of the day in a "town hall" with senior managers, and that over a dozen crisis counselors had been called in.
Wednesday's hostage crisis "was a scary situation," he said. "I don't think anyone walked into the building today with the same bounce in their step."
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