TODAY

TODAY   |  May 09, 2013

Kidnap victim’s grandmother: ‘She’s a tough girl’

Fern Gentry, grandmother of Amanda Berry, who was held captive in Cleveland for over a decade, speaks about her granddaughter’s newfound freedom and their first telephone conversation in more than 10 years.

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

>>> amanda berry's grandmother, she spoke to amanda by phone shortly after she was freed. mrs. gentry, nice to see you. good morning.

>> good morning.

>> i know you got a phone call a couple of days ago. someone said to you watch the news, there's incredible news about amanda . what was it like to see with your own eyes that she had been freed?

>> i just couldn't -- i just couldn't believe it. it's unbelievable. just unbelievable.

>> you had a chance a couple of -- a little while after she was released or freed to talk to her by phone. can you tell me about that phone call ?

>> well, we just got on and we were crying and happy. just thankful she got away. and all the good stuff and she told me about the little girl and i asked if it was hers and she said, yes, it was. so we've got another one into the family. so we've got two now.

>> she said the little girl is mine and she's a joy, i think you told me she said to you.

>> yes, she did.

>> you hadn't spoken to her since she was 15. did she sound the same?

>> yes, she did, yes. i knew that was her voice.

>> i know you've said you don't plan on asking amanda many of the details of what happened to her. is that to save amanda from having to go through it or in some way to save yourself from having to hear it?

>> well, i can hear it and if she needs to talk to me about it, good, that's fine. but no, i'm not going to bother amanda until she's ready. till amanda 's ready to talk and i give her room and space. she'll know when to do it. she's a tough girl. she'll know.

>> you know, amanda 's mom passed away during this ordeal. and she never gave up looking for her daughter. she organized vigils, was on the phone with the police and fbi. she passed out flyers, even bought her daughter presents every year. i'm sure you must have thought about what her reaction would have been had she been around to see this joyous occasion.

>> oh, my gosh. i don't know. she probably -- i don't know. it about got me. i don't know, you know, i'm strong but she wasn't as strong. i think she gave up at the end. and she did do everything she could do. i know that much. she kept at it, kept on it. done everything she could, but i wish we could've done more and got her out a lot sooner or something. i really do.

>> people say she died of a broken heart . do you think that's true?

>> yes. yes. i think we all pretty well died of a broken heart , though, really. i mean, my granddaughter's missing that long, there's no rest for you. you carry it with you.

>> are you going to get to see her in the coming days?

>> it's over now. sorry, i didn't understand.

>> are you going to get to see her soon?

>> i don't know. i don't know that right now. i don't know.

>> well, we hope you do. fern gentry. thanks for spending time with us this morning. i really appreciate it.

>> you're welcome.

>> obviously it's still very traumatic for this family even though there's been a happy outcome, they're still living with the trauma that's happened over ten years.

>> good news, of course, but it's so incredibly overwhelming. and we hope amanda 's just surrounded by love from now on.