Five words brought freedom for Amanda Berry, but for her Carter County family it was a miracle

10:53 am | May 8, 2013

Help me. I’m Amanda Berry.”

Those words led to freedom Monday for Amanda and two other women who had been held in a Cleveland, Ohio, house for more than 10 years.

Photo by Brandon HicksThose same words meant “a miracle” for a Carter County family, who now know a daughter, granddaughter, niece and cousin is safe after years of not knowing her fate.

Family members spoke with the STAR Tuesday afternoon in Elizabethton.

“I never thought we would hear from her again,” said Curtis Berry, Amanda’s uncle and the first Carter County family member to talk with her after her escape. “We didn’t talk for very long.

“She let us know she was OK and she wanted to talk to her dad. She was really hoarse, and it was hard to hear what she was saying.”

Curtis Berry said he only talked to Amanda for a few minutes after she had been admitted to the hospital when her sister, Beth, called to let the family know she had been found.

Amanda’s grandmother, Hampton resident Fern Gentry, talked to Amanda Tuesday morning before she was released from the hospital in Cleveland. She had last seen her granddaughter a year before Amanda disappeared.

Fern Gentry's emotions ranged from overjoyed to tearful during an interview about her granddaughter, Amanda Berry, who was missing for more than 10 years.  Photo by Bryan Stevens

Fern Gentry’s emotions ranged from overjoyed to tearful during an interview about her granddaughter, Amanda Berry, who was missing for more than 10 years.
Photo by Bryan Stevens

Gentry said she first learned Amanda had been rescued Monday night when her sister-in-law called her and told her to turn on the news.

“I turned on CNN, and there it was,” Gentry said. “It was her, and she was in the hospital. She was OK.”

She said she experienced a mix of emotions after speaking with her granddaughter for the first time in a decade – joy, relief and anger among them.

“I was happy, and I was mad,” Gentry said about learning Amanda had been found.

“I was mad that it had ever happened to her to begin with. I was happy because it was over. I am so glad that it is over, and that we know where she is, that she is OK. It was so hard not knowing all these years.”

Gentry said it was an emotional phone call, with both she and Amanda crying at the sound of each other’s voices.

“It was just so good to be able to hear her voice again,” she said. “She sounded good. She 1A Amanda Berry 1didn’t tell me anything about what had happened while she was there. I didn’t want to pump her. She’ll tell us when she is ready.”

Amanda’s father, Johnny Berry, spoke to her for the first time Monday night by phone at his Elizabethton home, The Associated Press reported.

“She said, ‘Hi, Daddy, I’m alive,’” Johnny Berry said. “She said, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you,’ and then we both started crying.”

Watch the STAR’s Ashley Rader interview Amanda Berry’s local family below:

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