It was a breezy summer day in Cleveland about a decade ago when Michelle "Shorty" Knight put on eyeglasses, blue shorts and a white T-shirt and went to see her cousin.
Though she was 21, Knight became easily confused by her surroundings. Still, no one thought twice about her visiting family on that day in August 2002.
Her mother believed that she suffered a mental disability. Even knowing that, what could go wrong? After all, the cousin lived near Lorain Avenue. But that day would be the last time the mother ever saw Knight.
Her grandmother believed Knight just walked out of their lives, she told the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. But not her mother. She knew her daughter was troubled by the loss of custody of her son -- but to never call home again, even to check in?
Society forgot about Michelle Knight, but her mother didn't: Barbara Knight papered Cleveland's west side with posters about her missing daughter.
It would take two years and the additional disappearance of two girls before anyone realized something sinister was unfolding on Lorain Avenue, a bustling street in this Ohio neighborhood.
Her abduction marked the opening chapter into a tale of captivity of three young women that seems so sadistic that the world is now wondering how it went unnoticed for 10 years.
Knight and two teenage girls were prisoners in an urban dungeon, hidden in plain sight just three miles from their abductions.
They were held captive in a two-story house on Seymour Avenue, whose basement foundation was laid in 1890. In 10 years, the women went outdoors briefly only twice.
The four-bedroom, 1,435-square-foot house belongs to Ariel Castro, 52, a longtime school bus driver for Cleveland's public schools. He's now charged with the kidnappings and rapes of Knight and two other women. Castro is also accused of being the father of a 6-year-old girl borne by one of the young captives.
How the macabre enslavement of two girls and a woman began has deeply disturbed the nation.
The second abduction
Knight was talked into her abductor's vehicle when he offered her a ride home. He took her to his house instead, according to a police report.
Just eight months after Knight's abduction, the kidnapper apparently decided he wanted another captive in his home.
That's when 16-year-old Amanda Berry disappeared on Lorain Avenue, just four blocks from where Knight was taken.
On the damp evening of April 21, 2003, Berry was every bit a teenager: she had pierced ears and a pierced left eyebrow -- vogue for her age -- and was finishing her shift at the neighborhood Burger King. Everything seemed safe: it was a school night, a Monday, and she worked just a few blocks from her house.
When she didn't return home, her mother found the absence especially alarming: the following day was Amanda's 17th birthday.
The mother, Louwana Miller, called police, who opened the case as a missing juvenile.
Her abductor offered her a ride home, saying his son also worked at Burger King, according to the police report.
Now the captivity house had a girl still in the throes of adolescence in her Burger King uniform. She joined a 21-year-old woman who was also a mother separated from her own child.
A week later, Berry's mother's hopes were raised when she received a phone call from her daughter's cell phone, the Plain Dealer reported. But the call apparently wasn't enough to help investigators.
In their house imprisonment, the girl and the woman were raped by their abductor, authorities say. Knight was allegedly impregnated five times by Castro, but he is accused of starving and repeatedly punching her in the stomach to induce miscarriages each time.
The two captives' only connection to the outside world was the television, and Berry watched newscasts of her family and friends holding vigils for her.
Desperate for leads seven months after her disappearance, the FBI released to the public how someone called Berry's mother from the teenager's cell phone. But no meaningful tips came forward.
In that same month, November 2003, Cleveland police removed Knight from the FBI missing person database because police couldn't locate her family to confirm that she was still missing, authorities said.
Still, investigators kept her case open and checked on it several times. Then, 19 days before the anniversary of Berry's disappearance, another girl went missing.
And Lorain Avenue was at the center of it again.
The third abduction
In March 2004, a month before the last person was abducted, Ariel Castro began having serious problems at work.
He received a 60-day suspension for leaving a child unattended on a school bus, school documents show.
Castro was facing several disciplinary issues -- unauthorized stop, failure to follow proper radio procedures, failure to effectively carry out job description activities -- but documents indicate he was ultimately disciplined for just one offense.
The police even went to Castro's house to investigate the bus incident about an abandoned child. No one answered at the home, and investigators later interviewed him elsewhere, police said.
Less than a month into Castro's suspension, the last of the three victims was abducted.
Georgina "Gina" DeJesus was barely a teenager -- just 14 -- when she vanished while walking home from middle school on Cleveland's west side. She was last seen on Lorain Avenue at a pay phone after school on April 2, 2004, a cold spring day.
In a ghoulish twist, DeJesus actually knew Ariel Castro, her family told CNN affiliate WOIO.
That's because she was a good friend with Castro's daughter, Arlene.
One year after DeJesus's appearance, Arlene Castro publicly crusaded to find her friend's kidnapper: She went on the national television program "America's Most Wanted" to plead for help in finding her friend in spring 2005.
Ariel Castro himself attended at least two public vigils for the missing girls -- while they were allegedly inside his home -- relatives told WOIO. Little did she know that her own father would later be charged with abducting and raping her good friend.
"I would like to say that I'm absolutely so, so sorry," a tearful Arlene Castro told ABC News this week. "... I'm so sorry for everything."
In fact, the police report described how DeJesus was allegedly taken: Castro was with his daughter when they allegedly approached DeJesus in the area of Lorain Avenue and 105th Street.