Amanda Berry's father: 'I didn't think she was dead'

Amanda Berry's father: 'I didn't think she was dead'

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"There's no way to explain, best thing that's ever happened to me," Johnny Berry said. "There's no way to explain, best thing that's ever happened to me," Johnny Berry said.
Amanda Berry went missing in 2003. She is shown here reuniting with her sister on Monday. Amanda Berry went missing in 2003. She is shown here reuniting with her sister on Monday.

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

ELIZABETHTON (WATE) - Johnny Berry never gave up hope that his daughter, Amanda, was alive. He says he's always known she was a survivor.

"I didn't think she was dead. No, no, never, never gave up," Berry said. "She was just rough and tough."

Berry's daughter, along with Gina Dejesus, Michelle Knight, and a small child, were rescued from a Cleveland, Ohio house on Monday after a neighbor heard cries for help and called police.

It was Amanda Berry who got the attention of neighbor Charles Ramsey with her screaming. Together they opened the bottom of the home's door and she crawled out.

Amanda had been missing for about 10 years ago. She was just a teenager when she disappeared. She is now 27 years old.

Her father, Johnny, is recovering from back surgery at his home in Elizabethton. That's where he was when he got a phone call from a Cleveland relative telling him of Amanda's rescue.

"There's no way to explain, best thing that's ever happened to me," Berry said.

He says he spoke to Amanda briefly, but there was just too much to say in a phone call.

"We've got a whole lot of talking to do," Berry said.

As the years went by after her disappearance, he says, it was tough to stay positive.

"Put posters in every bar window and every store window," he said.

Berry's ex-wife, Louwana Miller, made pleas on network TV shows. She died in 2006 of what Berry believes was a broken heart.

Mostly, Berry wants people to understand from their story that no matter how dark it seems, there can always be light at the end of a tunnel.

"Keep hope. Keep hope," he said. "Don't give up until you know, because I never gave up, because I know the kid's heart."

Berry says he plans to see his daughter this week. He can't wait to see Amanda and meet his six-year-old granddaughter.

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