TODAY   |  May 09, 2013

‘Hugs all around’ when freed Ohio woman saw family

Cleveland city councilman Matt Zone said there were “lots of tears” when Gina DeJesus, who was kept captive for ten years, was reunited with her family. He talks about Gina’s dramatic rescue this week.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> matt zone is the cleveland city councilman for the dejesus family neighborhood and has been part of the effort to bring gina home. good morning to you.

>> good morning, matt.

>> let me start with -- you were listening to jeff's report, you're hearing some of these details now emerging. how do you even process these?

>> well, the gruesome brutality that went on is unfathomable. these are three young women , and to be held captive for ten years is just reprehensible.

>> you've been with this family for those ten years since gina was abducted in 2004 . can you describe the moments of anticipation yesterday as she was about to be reunited with her family? what were they going through?

>> anxiety. i mean, the community really couldn't believe that this moment was happening. we heard that gina was rescued along with michelle and amanda on monday and to know that she was finally coming home to her own house, to walk through her front door to sleep eventually in her own bed was heartwarming.

>> we listened to the cheers from members of the neighborhood and the community and she got inside with her family. can you tell us what were the first things they said to each other? what did they want to share with each other?

>> well, there weren't many words said. there were a lot of tears, a lot of hugs, and i think just subliminally you knew what the other person was saying. hugs all around, neighbors hugging neighbors, family members hugging neighbors. it was just such an emotional experience, one that i'll never forget.

>> there are questions now about what happened over these last ten years and what the police did or didn't do. this was a very poor neighborhood where these girls were held for that decade. are you confident that the appropriate amount of resources and effort were put into this case as compared to if this abduction had taken place in a more affluent neighborhood?

>> well, i will tell you, it wasn't for lack of being in the public realm. the family did an amazing job, i think, constantly keeping this at the forefront of the police department , city leaders. they were constantly holding vigils and rallies. i know that from everything i've read so far that the police have never left one stone unturned. in fact, as recently as last summer on an anonymous tip and they eventually found it several blocks from the location we're at right now, the city spent 48 hours digging through the night because we were told that the remains of amanda berry were in that ground. that cost the city nearly several hundred thousand dollars and that's just what we had to do. it was the right thing to do.

>> councilman matt zone . thank you for your time this morning. our best to the family.

>> thank you, matt.