Even if you’re not from Ohio, chances are that you’re already familiar with the bizarre case involving three young women–Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight–who all went missing almost a decade ago. Incredibly, on May 6th, 2013, all three were found alive in Cleveland, apparently having been kidnapped and held prisoner by one man all this time.
The case is still unfolding with new, disturbing facts coming to light on an almost daily basis. But the case took a rather weird and unexpected turn when it was revealed that one of the young girl’s mother had at one point reached out to a well-known psychic in an attempt to find her daughter.
Back in 2004, Amanda Berry’s mother, Louwana Miller, appeared on the Montel Williams Show in an attempt to get closure on her daughter’s case by asking psychic Sylvia Browne if she could provide any additional information.
The segment, which first aired on November 17th, 2004, began with a taped introduction during which Miller gave a brief overview of the case. After which, Miller was introduced to the live studio audience and she, Montel Williams, and Sylvia Browne began discussing the case.
According to what is being reprinted online as the official transcript from the episode, this is the exact exchange that took place between Sylvia Browne and Louwana Miller regarding whether or not Amanda Berry was still alive:
Miller: Can you tell me if they’ll ever find her? Is she out there?
Browne: She’s…see, I hate this when they’re in water. I just hate this. She’s not alive, honey. And I’ll tell you why, here we go again. Your daughter was not the type that would not have called you.
The remainder of the brief conversation centered around some vague references to potential suspects, as well as the jacket that Berry was wearing the night she disappeared, which Browne said she saw “in a dumpster” and that it had “DNA on it”. Montel then asked for another person who had a question for Sylvia Browne to step forward and they moved on to another case without ever clarifying exactly what Browne’s “in water” comment meant.
News about this 2004 segment spread quickly across the Internet, creating a firestorm as it went. People were, understandably, upset with Browne’s comments and some even went so far as to accuse Browne of causing Louwana Miller to “die of a broken heart” (Miller died in 2006 after being hospitalized with pancreatitis). As I’m writing these words, Sylvia Browne has yet to issue a statement explaining her statements to Miller on the Montel Williams Show. Personally, I think Browne’s camp hasn’t responded yet because they need time to come up with a creative spin to things. I imagine it going something like this:
“Sylvia never said Amanda was dead. She said Amanda was ‘not alive’. And anyone who reads about the horrible conditions that Amanda was forced to exist in during her captivity will certainly agree that she was not ‘living’, merely existing.”
UPDATE: Sylvia Browne (or someone posting on her behalf) did issue a statement on her Facebook page, which read:
For more than 50 years as a spiritual psychic and guide, when called upon to either help authorities with missing person cases or to help families with questions about their loved ones, I have been more right than wrong. If ever there was a time to be grateful and relieved for being mistaken, this is that time. Only God is right all the time. My heart goes out to Amanda Berry, her family, the other victims and their families. I wish you a peaceful recovery.
As can be expected, the post (and her Facebook page) quickly fell under attack from people calling Browne all sorts of names and demanding answers. As of this writing, Browne’s Facebook page was down.
Regardless, I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of this story.
UPDATE (5/11/13): The website The Inquisitr is reporting that Sylvia Browne has issued a second statement on her Facebook page, which is said to read:
As I stated earlier, I am so relieved that Amanda Berry and the other women have been found and are safe with their families. Of course I do feel very bad telling Amanda’s mother on the show that I believed her daughter was not alive, and I’m so so glad that I was wrong. I had a vision of her being held underwater, but I had interpreted it to have a different meaning. She was not being held under water but was being held down.
You can access the entire Inquisitr article by clicking here. Despite repeated attempts, I am still unable to access Sylvia’s Facebook page, which is apparently getting so much traffic that it goes down. I did, however, notice there is now a “statement” of sorts on Sylvia Browne’s personal website, which also includes the following quote, which is attributed to Sherry Cole, Amanda Berry’s cousin: “Our family in no way blames Sylvia. This doesn’t change anything. We still love her and believe in her.”
You can read the entire November 18th, 2004 Plain Dealer article by clicking here.
Portions of the transcript from the November 18th, 2004 show can be read by clicking here.
A video segment about the case, featuring excerpts from the 2004 Montel Williams Show, can be viewed here