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By Lauren Sullivan

1. Days after Ariel Castro hanged himself in his prison cell, NBC News acquired police interrogation tapes that revealed just how close the convicted kidnapper and rapist came to being caught. Included are details about a call he made to one of his victims’ mothers, as well as his own suicidal thoughts written down in letters.

2. Amanda Lindhout, the journalist who was held hostage for more than 15 months in Somalia, described to Savannah this morning how she kept her will to live through beatings, starvation and sexual assaults.

“I think it's the human spirit inside of all of us that has an enormous capacity to survive,” she said. “I went through something that was exceedingly difficult, so I had to dive pretty deep to find out what I was made of, so I had the opportunity to do that.”

3. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington state and her husband, Daniel, gushed about their new baby daughter, a “miracle” according to health experts.

Born without kidneys, little Abigail Rose Beutler may be the first child with Potter’s Syndrome ever to survive the condition.

“She is doing amazing,” Jaime said. “She has a few challenges, but man, she’s determined.”

4. “It’s a tantalizing and provocative question: Do people with Down syndrome hold the key to the mystery of Alzheimer’s development?” Mass. General’s Dr. Brian Skotko posed the question as part of this week’s “Age of Alzheimer’s” series.

Scientists are now studying the link between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s in hopes of finding a cure for the disease.

5. Hoda’s phone’s blowing up! After accidentally revealing her number on air Thursday, the Fourth Hour anchor’s phone filled with voicemails and texts — more than 4,000 of them!

“There were a couple of porn ones in there, which I kind of enjoyed," she joked this morning to Savannah.

And that’s TODAY’s Takeaway!