St. Landry

May 16, 2013 11:30 PM by Erin Steuber

Eunice Woman Has Ties to One Cleveland Kidnap Victim

The kidnapping, and rescue a decade later, of three girls in Cleveland Ohio has captured the attention of the nation. But that remarkable story hits close to home for one Acadiana resident. The women: Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, disappeared in separate cases between 2002 and 2004. Turns out a woman, now living in Eunice, was very close to the family of Gina DeJesus.

"She knew for sure she would find her daughter again. She didn't give up hope, God bless her," said Dorothy Moses.

84-year-old Moses never thought she'd see the day when Gina was reunited with her family after a decade. For years she lived just a few doors down from the DeJesus family in the west Cleveland neighborhood.

"Very well known, well liked," said Moses. "They were a real close family. She was a very, very nice girl. You couldn't find anyone any better."

Gina DeJesus went missing on April 2, 2004 at the age of 14. Moses recalls Gina's mother praying in the yard at the feet of the Virgin Mary daily, neighbors always placing fresh flowers at the makeshift memorial. Moses says within days, the FBI was actively searching the streets within a mile radius of where Gina was abducted.

"They would look through your closets. They went up in my attic, went down in my basement," said Moses. "One of my friends said 'I wouldn't let them' and I said, 'well if it was my kid, I'd let them blow up the house as long as they found them."

When Moses moved to Eunice 5 years ago the young girl she watched grow up was still missing.

"Everybody was scared. Then they didn't let their kids out of the yard. They wouldn't let their kids ride their bicycles up and down the street I think that side of the city, the west side of the city, was really frightened," said Moses.

Moses says she was shocked to hear just how close to home Gina was being held, but was overwhelmed with joy she was alive.

"I knew that neighborhood like I knew my own name. That's where I grew up. No body would have ever thought that's where they would find her. It isn't that the cops didn't try, who would have thought the guy would keep her in Cleveland," said Moses.

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