Amanda Berry's East TN family remembers her childhood visits

11:26 PM, May 8, 2013   |    comments
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The attention of the world has been focused on Cleveland, Ohio, this week, after three women who had been kidnapped more than a decade ago, were found alive.

One of those women, Amanda Berry, has ties to East Tennessee.  Her father, grandfather, and other extended family members live in Elizabethton.

"Nobody believed it. It was unbelievable," said Troy Berry, Amanda's grandfather, "She never gave up."

They are, of course, thrilled that Amanda is alive, but the emotions are mixed.  They worry about the ordeal that she's been through, and how she will recover.

"It's been crazy. Everybody's happy, emotional.  [We're] crying still too.  It's just unbelievable.  This stuff doesn't happen after a decade, not with this outcome," said Amanda's first cousin, Crystal Milton.

John Berry, Amanda's father, has talked to his daughter twice since Monday, which he called the best day of his life. Both conversations lasted around 10 minutes, and we're full of "I love you's" and "can't wait to see you's."

John Berry is unable to travel right now, because he just had back surgery.  He says if he was able, he'd be in Ohio right now.  They are hoping Amanda can come visit him soon.

He says despite it all, he always knew he would see her again.

"Always. I always had hope. I never give up hope, no. I couldn't. I knew how good she was, how smart she was. If there was any way out of it, she'd find it. She had the nickname Commando. That's what I nicknamed her when she was little. She loved to fight with me and she was such as good kid. A tomboy, wasn't no pushover girl," said John Berry.

Her grandfather says Amanda always enjoyed visits to East Tennessee as a girl, and he can't wait for their reunion.

"She'd have stayed down here forever, you know, if we would have known, we would have let her but you never know," said Troy Berry.

"We went camping... and played hide and go seek. We were very close, like sisters because I never had a sister," said Milton, of Berry's visits to East Tennessee.

Now that her family has heard her voice and seen photos, they hope to see her for themselves.

Milton and Troy Berry said they hope to make a trip to Cleveland within the next few weeks.

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