CHICAGO

Three young US women who went missing around a decade ago - two of whom disappeared as teenagers - were found alive in a house in Cleveland, as police arrested three suspects in the case.

The dramatic discovery - just a few miles from where the women went missing - ended years of anguished searching by their families and drew hundreds of cheering people to the usually quiet, residential street in the state of Ohio.

The details of the trauma they may have suffered in captivity were not yet known, but it appeared that at least one of the girls had borne a child.

Police said they have arrested three Hispanic men in their 50s in connection to the case but declined to provide further details. A press conference is scheduled for Tuesday morning at 9:00 am (1300 GMT). The long nightmare ended when Amanda Berry - who had been kidnapped 10 years ago at the age of 16 - reached her arm through a crack in the front door and called for help.

“I heard screaming... And I see this girl going nuts trying to get outside of the house,” Charles Ramsey, told the local ABC news affiliate. “I go on the porch, and she said ‘Help me get out. I’ve been here a long time.’”

Ramsey, a bystander now hailed as a hero, said he tried to get her out through the door but could not pull it open, so he kicked out the bottom and she crawled through “carrying a little girl.”

Berry went into a neighboring home and called police, begging them to come as soon as they could, “before he gets back.”

“I’m Amanda Berry. I’ve been kidnapped. I’ve been missing for 10 years. I’m free. I’m here now,” a frantic Berry says in the recording of her call to 911. When police arrived, she said two other women were being held captive.

She told the dispatcher that the man who had held her was named Ariel Castro. Media reports identified the three suspects as Castro and his two brothers, but police provided no confirmation. “All three women, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight, seem to be in good health,” Cleveland police said in a statement.

Berry was last seen on April 21, 2003 when she left work at a fast food restaurant just a few blocks from her home around 7:40 pm.