There were no apparent constraints Monday, the law enforcement source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation said. Yet Knight and DeJesus didn't run out of the house with Berry although they could have, the source said, describing them as brainwashed and fearful.
'Ariel kept everybody at a distance'
So how did this all happen in an urban neighborhood? Did Castro, a former school bus driver and upbeat and "outgoing" musician, according to one bandmate, keep such a secret from not only his neighbors but his family, as police allege?
Soon after the three women were found, Castro and two of his brothers who were with him were taken into custody.
Over the next two days, authorities officials "found no facts to link" Onil and Pedro Castro to the kidnappings -- though both brothers will appear in Cleveland Municipal Court on Thursday related to outstanding warrants on misdemeanor cases on other matters.
"Ariel kept everybody at a distance," Tomba said of the suspect, explaining why even his brothers and other family members (Castro talked on Facebook about having five grandchildren) apparently were in the dark.
Castro has been talking to investigators since Tuesday, as have the three young women police say he kidnapped and raped.
After those conversations, Tomba said he doesn't believe there are other victims -- including Ashley Summers, who was 14 when she went missing in the same part of Cleveland in 2007 -- or anyone other than Castro involved.
And since Monday, law enforcement personnel have combed through Castro's Seymour Avenue home -- which Tomba said was in "disarray" when officers first went in -- and removed more than 200 items that they hope will let them piece together what happened.
Additionally, FBI agents searched a boarded-up home two doors down after obtaining information over the past few days tying that building to the case, the deputy police chief explained.
Second-guessing if more could have been done
As they investigate, authorities are facing second-guessing as to whether any of this could have been prevented. Some comes from neighbors who say they contacted police about suspicious activity on Castro's property such as reports of screaming and naked women in his backyard. Authorities say they never got any such calls.
In fact, police say they had only been to Castro's house twice, once after he called about a fight on his street and in 2004 to investigate an incident in which he was accused of leaving a child alone on a bus. No one answered at the home, and investigators later interviewed him elsewhere, police said.
And according to court documents from 2005, Castro's former common-law wife accused him of repeatedly abusing her, including breaking her nose twice, breaking two ribs, dislocating her shoulder twice and knocking out a tooth. A judge granted a protection order but lifted it three months later.
Tomba, for one, said he doesn't think authorities dropped the ball.
"I'm just very, very confident (that) law enforcement officers ... checked every single lead, and if there was one bit of evidence (they would have) followed it up very, very aggressively," he said.
"In hindsight, we may find out that maybe we did, but that's going to be in hindsight."
Relief, joy as victims reunite with family
For the first time in years, relatives of Berry, DeJesus and Knight -- whom Perez described Wednesday as "safe and healthy" -- don't have only memories to fall back on. They can look forward, and move on with their lives.
Barbara Knight told "Today" that, as of Wednesday, she still hadn't talked with her daughter Michelle. Michelle Knight, now 32, was then in a Cleveland hospital in a good condition.
"She's probably angry at the world, because she thought she would never be found," Barbara Knight said. "But thank God that somebody did."
Asked what she would tell her daughter, her mother said, "I love you and I missed you all this time."
Well-wishers welcomed Berry and her daughter on Wednesday to a family home in Cleveland that was decorated with balloons and stuffed animals.
"We are so happy to have Amanda and her daughter home," said her sister, Beth Serrano.
A similar scene played out at a DeJesus family home, where relatives embraced their long-lost relative.