In a frantic call to police, which was released to the news media, she identified her captor as Ariel Castro. She said she had escaped after he had left the house.
One of the girl's mothers died in 2006, three years after she went missing. How sad that she never knew her daughter was alive. It was assumed the girls were dead, and the mother of another victim said she believed her daughter had been sold into slavery.
And the girls? They are being kept in hospital for further investigation. The women were able to speak to hospital staff but they declined to give further details.
Although much is still not yet known about the circumstances, it recalled memories of a series of recent high-profile child abduction cases.
In Austria, Natascha Kampusch was abducted on her way to school at the age of 10. She was held for eight years by Wolfgang Priklopil in the windowless basement of a house in a quiet suburb of Vienna. She managed to escape in 2006 while Priklopil was making a phone call. He committed suicide hours after she had fled.
Elizabeth Smart was 14 when she was taken from the bedroom of her Utah home in June 2002 and repeatedly raped during nine months of captivity. She was rescued in March 2003 less than 20 miles from her home. Her abductor, Brian David Mitchell, was jailed for life in 2011.
It's hard to imagine how these girls felt after their capture. At first, they would have been desperately unhappy and trying everything they could think of to escape. Perhaps they gradually became accustomed to their treatment, rather than sink into madness. But, after the joy of their release dies down, will they ever live a normal life?
Be aware of where your children are at all times. One of the girls' last calls to her mother mentioned getting a lift home from a fast-food takeaway. It's been forty years since my own children were teenagers. I don't know how I'd cope.