Women in Ohio kidnap break silence

2013-07-09 09:55
Michelle Knight, one of three women held captive in a Cleveland home for a decade speaks in a video in which all three thank the public. (News24, YouTube)

Michelle Knight, one of three women held captive in a Cleveland home for a decade speaks in a video in which all three thank the public. (News24, YouTube)

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Video

Kidnapped women say thank you

2013-07-09 08:21

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight used this video to say "thank you" to those who supported them after their dramatic rescue from captivity. Watch.WATCH

Cleveland — Three women held captive in a Cleveland home for a decade issued a YouTube video on Monday night in which they thanked the public for the encouragement and financial support that is allowing them to restart their lives.

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight broke their public silence in the 3-minute, 30-second video posted at midnight. They said the support and prayers of family, friends and the public is allowing them to rebuild their lives after what Berry called "this entire ordeal".

The women had gone missing separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16, and 20 years old. Cleveland resident Ariel Castro has pleaded not guilty to a 329-count indictment alleging he kidnapped them off the streets and held them captive in his two-storey home.

The 52-year-old former bus driver fathered a 6-year-old daughter with Berry and is accused of starving and punching Knight, causing her to miscarry. He was arrested on 6 May, shortly after Berry broke through a door at the home and yelled to neighbours for help.

Knight said in the video, filmed on 2 July, that she is building a "brand new life".

Privacy

"I may have been through hell and back, but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face and my head held high," she said, reading from a prepared statement. "I will not let the situation define who I am. I will define the situation. I don't want to be consumed by hatred."

DeJesus' parents, Felix DeJesus and Nancy Ruiz, thanked the public for donations to a fund set up to help the women. In addition, Ruiz encouraged parents with missing loved ones to reach out for assistance. "Count on your neighbours," she said. "Don't be afraid to ask for the help because help is available."

Kathy Joseph, an attorney for Knight, said in a statement that the three women wanted to "say thank you to people from Cleveland and across the world, now that two months have passed".

She said they're being recognised in public, "so they decided to put voices and faces to their heartfelt messages".

James Wooley, attorney for Berry and DeJesus, also issued a statement saying Knight and his clients thank people for the privacy they've been given and do not want to discuss their case with the news media or anyone else.

- AP
Read more on:    gina dejesus  |  amanda berry  |  michelle knight  |  us  |  cleveland kidnappings
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