Cleveland rescue: Key videos
The first sign that something odd was happening in Ohio came when a frantic-sounding woman called 911 seeking police help.
It was the beginning of a sequence of events that saw three missing women reunited with their families - and a few extraordinary tales spread worldwide by news and social media.
Amanda Berry's emergency call
"Help me, I'm Amanda Berry..." the woman on the phone told the dispatcher, begging for police to get to her before her captor came home.
Ms Berry's voice was strained and panicked as she reminded the dispatcher that her disappearance 10 years ago had been headline news.
Now 27, she was last been seen leaving her job at a fast-food restaurant the day before her 17th birthday in April 2003.
"I've been kidnapped and I've been missing for 10 years and I'm here, I'm free now," she told the emergency dispatcher as she pleaded for police to come quickly.
"I'm Amanda Berry... I've been in the news for the last 10 years."
Charles Ramsey: The man next door
Ms Berry made the emergency call from a house across Seymour Avenue after a neighbour, Charles Ramsey, had heard her screaming for help.
In a series of interviews to an astonished media pack after police reached Ms Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight, Mr Ramsey revealed both how the women were found - and his incredulity as he realised that his own neighbour appeared to have held them captive.
"I heard some girl screaming... and she was just going nuts on the door," he told reporters. "We had to kick open the bottom [of the door]," he told one US TV interviewer.
To another reporter, Mr Ramsey spoke of his shock that the man he used to listen to music with and share ribs with could have been behind this.
"You got to have some big testicles to pull this off, bro, because we see this dude every day. I mean every day."
Police: Officers jubilant
At a news conference on Tuesday, law enforcement officials said they were celebrating the three women's rescue.
"Prayers have finally been answered. The nightmare is over," FBI Special Agent Steve Anthony said.
"The families of these three young ladies never gave up hope, and neither did law enforcement."
Relatives: Families overjoyed
Family members were predictably elated, including one who lives on the same street where the three were held captive.
"She knew who we were and she knew we were looking for her all this time," Gina DeJesus' aunt Sandra Ruiz said.
"I can't wait to see her and I'll stay here all night if I have to," Amanda Berry's cousin Tasheena Mitchell told ABC News.
"She's a fighter and I knew she would come up on top one day. It just took a little bit too long."
Seymour Street resident Elsie Cintron tells the BBC's Laura Trevelyan she became suspicious when her granddaughter told her she had seen a "naked lady crawling in the backyard", and she wondered who the little girl in the attic window belonged to.
Ms Cintron says neighbours want the house gone as soon as possible - even if that means burning it down.