Since aiding in the rescue of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, Charles Ramsey has become a national hero, a household name and an Internet phenomenon thanks to his well-publicized television interview.
Hawkers are even selling Charles Ramsey T-shirts.
Angel Cordero, however, has not received the limelight that Ramsey has for his own work in the rescue operation of three women held captive in a Cleveland home for over a decade.
“I helped her and I was first,” Cordero told a local Cleveland new station in Spanish. “Ramsey arrived after she was outside with the girl…But the truth who arrived there, who crossed the street, who came and broke the door, it was me.”
Cordero told Cleveland's Fox 8 that he was at a friend’s house across the street when he heard someone screaming for help.
“I crossed the street and I asked the girl what was happening and she told me that she’s been kidnapped for 10 years. We tried together to open the door but it was locked with a chain and the door didn’t open much so I kicked the door open,” Cordero said.
Even though Cordero is not receiving the accolades Ramsey is getting, he said he's just glad he was there to help.
“I did something I needed to do," he told Fox 8. "A big, important favor.”
The three women were allegedly held in a single home for about ten years by homeowner Ariel Castro, a former school bus driver who moved to Cleveland from Puerto Rico. While there had been occasional reports to police about strange occurrences and Castro was charged in 1993 with domestic abuse, no attempt to enter the home was made by local authorities.
Two neighbors said they called police to the Castro house on separate occasions.
Elsie Cintron, who lives three houses away, said her daughter saw a naked woman crawling in the backyard several years ago and called police. "But they didn't take it seriously," she said.
Another neighbor, Israel Lugo, said he heard pounding on some of the doors of the house in November 2011. Lugo said officers knocked on the front door, but no one answered. "They walked to side of the house and then left," he said.
On another occasion four elderly women spotted three naked women with dog chains and leashes around their necks in the backyard of Castro's home, Lugo told the New York Daily News.
"Everyone in the neighborhood did what they had to do," said Lupe Collins, who is close to relatives of the women. "The police didn't do their job."
Along with Cordero and Ramsey, Winter Tejeda – who lives across the street from Castro – also aided in the rescue. After Berry was pried out of the house, she was handed a phone at Tejeda’s home.
“She was able to call police from my house,” Tejeda said in Spanish.
Despite the national fame that Ramsey has gained following the rescue, both Cordero and Tejeda said they hold no grudge against the man for taking the spotlight in the rescue.
“I did what had to be done. I helped her,” Cordero said. “They have their daughter, daughters are safe over there.”