News of the release of three women held captive in the home of middle-aged brothers in Cleveland, Ohio, has converged with the singular impression made by their unlikely rescuer Charles Ramsey (video below).

His descriptions of both his rescue and his seemingly harmless neighbor contribute to a portrait of the women as suffering from Stockholm syndrome, "an automatic, probably unconscious emotional response to the traumatic experience of being a victim."

On Monday, one of the women, Amanda Berry, broke free and, after eliciting Charles Ramsey's help and borrowing his phone, called 9-1-1.

"This girl is kicking the door and screaming," Ramsey told NBC station WKYC-TV. "So I go over there ... and I say, 'Can I help? What's going on?' And she says, 'I've been kidnapped, and I've been in this house a long time. I want to leave right now.'"

In their search of the house, police also found Gina DeJesus, 23, who had been missing for nine years, and Michelle Knight, 30, who had been missing for 11 years.

Police said that the man and two of his brothers, ages 50 and 54, have been arrested. Ramsey, who lived across the street, told reporters that he never suspected anything was amiss.

"I barbecue with this dude," Ramsey said. "We eat ribs and what not, listen to salsa music, you see where I'm coming from? Not a clue that that girl was in that house, or anybody else was in there against their will."

"There was nothing exciting about him - well, until today," Ramsey added. And it is this impression of an easy-going man, certainly a non-violent man, that contributes to the plausibility of Stockholm syndrome.

The FBI credits the term "Stockholm syndrome" to the 1973 robbery of Kreditbanken in Stockholm, Sweden, in which two robbers held four bank employees hostage from August 23 to 28. During this period of captivity, the victims shared a vault with their captors and soon became emotionally attached; after the ordeal ended, they even defended them.

An article in Arch Kriminol, a German periodical devoted to criminal anthropology, describes Stokholm syndrome as affecting hostage and hostage-taker alike, serving to unite both, being victims of the siege environment, against outsiders. "This positive emotional bond between victim and subject is a defense mechanism of the ego under stress. The Stockholm Syndrome may save the life of victim and subject alike, as it reduces the subjects tendency towards violence and thus the possible necessity for a seizure by the security forces."

Although opinions diverge, criminologists and psychologists agree on the conditions necessary for it to occur.

The hostage endures isolation from other people and is reliant on the captor's perspective. To keep them dependent, perpetrators routinely keep information about the outside world's response from captives.

The hostage-taker threatens to kill the victim and so the captive judges it safer to comply with the captor rather than resist and be murdered.

A person held in captivity cannot escape and depends on the hostage-taker for life. The captor becomes the person in control of the captive's basic needs for survival and the victim's life.

Finally, the condition will not develop unless the captor exhibits kindness toward the hostage. Captives often misinterpret a lack of abuse as kindness; in appreciation for this perceived benevolence, victims will submerge their anger and concentrate on the captors' "good side" to protect themselves.

The various psychological profiles of participants in this sad story are only now taking form. Berry identified the owner of the house, where she was held, as Ariel Castrol, a 52-year-old Cleveland school bus driver. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Castro had been arrested for domestic violence in 1993 but a grand jury declined to indict him. Apparently in 2004, Castro, at the time a reporter, wrote an article in the Plain Press about the DeJesus kidnapping.