Two women held captive, tortured and raped repeatedly meet for the first time to talk about experiences

Posted at 8:31 PM, Feb 28, 2017

CLEVELAND, Ohio - The disappearances of Elizabeth Smart and Amanda Berry got a lot of attention but their escapes made international news and now the two women are meeting for the first time.

News 3's sister station FOX 8 united Elizabeth and Amanda.

Reporter Stefani Schaefer sat down with the two women to talk about their experiences and the similarities between them.

“I’m so excited to meet you,” said Elizabeth to Amanda.

Both women hugged and embraced each other.

"I know I've always read about her, seen her and her incredible strength. That's kind of what helped me get through what I went through, so it's so amazing to see her in person," said Amanda Berry.

At 14 years old Elizabeth was abducted from her bed in Utah and held captive by Brian Mitchell and Wanda Barzee.

Elizabeth shared in her book she’d been tied up and raped 3 to 4 times a day but then a miracle happened.

Nine months after her disappearance she was found alive by police officers.

Ten years later Amanda’s story shocked the world as they learned of another miracle in Ohio.

With her 6-year-old in her arms, Amanda escaped her captor’s house and got help from neighbors.

Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were also found in the same house – alive thanks to Amanda's brave actions.

Ariel Castro was arrested for keeping the three women captive in his house for a decade.

Both Elizabeth and Amanda shared the similar experience of being held captive, tortured, and raped repeatedly.

"I've never forget the day she escaped and helped rescue all of them. I remember just getting inundated with media requests to comment and say something and I remember coming down and just saying, what a hero Amanda is, all of them really," said Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is a married and the mother of a two year old girl and expecting a little boy soon.

Now both women have a similar mission.

Elizabeth is a reporter working to solve cases for Crime Watch Daily, a syndicated one hour program that covers crimes.

Amanda is working in Cleveland to help find missing people in the area with daily segments on FOX 8.

“I mean, it's so important because there are so many people who are missing and it's so easy for people to give up hope on those people who have disappeared for more than 24 or 48 hours but in my mind I think that if we haven't found them yet, doesn't that mean there's still a good chance they're still alive? I mean, I was alive after nine months. Amanda was alive after a decade, so we can't give up,” said Elizabeth.

Amanda said she’d wake up early on the anniversary of her disappearance and quietly watch the news hoping to get a glimpse of her family members as they held vigils for her.

Both women say the knowledge of knowing their loved ones were looking for them got them through the darkest times.

“In the beginning, I made up my mind almost from day one that I was going to do whatever I had to do to survive because I was going to have my family's love and that would never change,” said Elizabeth, “I had days where I'd rather die than keep going. I'm sure Amanda would say the same thing but then somehow time just ticks on and I'd make it through that day and then another day would bring new hope but there were times when I thought, anything would be better than this."

Two women sharing the rare experience of surviving an abduction with so much in common.

“It's definitely a club nobody should join but you get to meet some pretty amazing people," said Elizabeth.