Home Tags Posts tagged with "captivity"
Michelle Knight has reportedly rejected all attempts by her mother for an emotional reunion after 11 years in captivity in the Cleveland horror house.
More than two months after she was rescued from Ariel Castro’s house, Michelle Knight, 32, has not yet spoken to her mother, according to Mail Online.
Michelle Knight has not replied to a single card or letter sent by her mother Barbara Knight and has even refused to see her 10-year-old sister, a family friend told the website.
Such is the gulf between mother and daughter that Barbara Knight had no idea Michelle had made a video for her first public appearance and statement about her ordeal.
Michelle Knight’s mother, who lives in South Florida, only found out when a family friend told her about the short video in which Michelle talks about going to “hell and back”.
The family friend said Barbara Knight is “very hurt” that her daughter has refused to see her – or even speak with her on the phone.
“Barbara is hurt. She is very hurt. All she wants to do is see and speak to her daughter. She wants her youngest daughter Katie to meet Michelle,” said the friend.
“She has sent lots of letters and cards. Presumably they are being given to Michelle but she has not had a single word from her. She has tried repeatedly to make contact, but has heard nothing back. It is very sad.
“It is hurting her. She is her mother and never gave up hope that she was alive.”
Michelle Knight, who went missing in 2002, is believed to have suffered most at the hands of her alleged kidnapper, 52-year-old Ariel Castro.
She was 21 when she was taken off the street in August 2002 and little was made of her disappearance.
Michelle Knight has rejected all attempts by her mother for an emotional reunion after 11 years in captivity in Ariel Castro’s house
Her family told police that she had run away after her young son was taken from her by the Ohio Department of Family Services.
As the oldest of the three girls held captive at Castro’s home in Cleveland, Ohio, for over a decade, Michelle Knight was repeatedly raped, according to authorities.
Court documents have revealed she fell pregnant several times but miscarried after being beaten and starved.
Michelle Knight was also forced to deliver Ariel Castro’s daughter by Amanda Berry – who also went missing in 2003 aged 17 on her way home from a part time job at a Burger King restaurant.
While Amanda Berry, now 27, and Gina DeJesus, now 23, had emotional reunions with their family in the days after being freed, Michelle Knight said she did not want to see her mother.
Barbara Knight flew from her home in Naples, Florida, to Cleveland in the hope of being reunited with her daughter, even going to the hospital where she was being cared for.
However, Michelle Knight refused to see her mother and told authorities to send her away.
“Barbara was very hurt. She had taken her 10-year-old daughter Katie to Cleveland so that she could meet her sister. After a week she had to send Katie back to Naples so she could go back to school,” the family friend said.
“All Barbara wants is to see Michelle. Yes, there were things that went on in the past but she wants to move on and move forward.”
The family friend said Barbara Knight had also been hurt by accusations made by other family members that she was a bad mother.
She came in for public criticism after she revealed in May that she did not have a photo of her daughter Michelle.
“Barbara knows the truth and as a friend for over nine years I know she is not a bad mother.”
“When Michelle went missing she was upset about having her child taken into care. Barbara doesn’t talk about that and what went on, but I can tell you she is a great mother,” the friend said.
The friend also revealed that Barbara Knight had turned down several big money offers from TV networks to talk about her daughter.
“Barbara is not interested in money. All she wants is to be reunited with her daughter. When she is ready to talk it will be on her terms,” the friend said.
Michelle Knight spoke in a halting voice in the video released by a Cleveland-based public relations firm primarily so they could thanks family and supporters.
She said in the video that she is building a “brand new life”.
“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,” Michelle Knight 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.”
Kathy Joseph, Michelle Knight’s attorney, 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”.
Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus could come face to face with their alleged captor next month when he stands trial on 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of gross s***al imposition, three counts of felonious assault and one count of possession of criminal tools, to which Ariel Castro has pleaded not guilty.
Cleveland kidnap victim Michelle Knight has broken her public silence to bravely face the cameras for the first time since her rescue from the house of horrors in May in a recent video released on YouTube.
Michelle Knight’s captor Ariel Castro is accused of starved and punching her until she miscarried during her decade-long ordeal.
But Michelle Knight, now 32, sought to reassure the public saying: “I want everyone to know I’m doing just fine.”
She admitted in the video released onto YouTube on Monday that she had been “through hell and back, but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face”.
A smiling Michelle Knight spoke directly into the camera said: “I will not let the situation define who I am. I will define the situation.”
It was not even known that Michelle Knight had been kidnapped until she was found in Ariel Castro’s home on Seymour Avenue on May 6.
“I don’t want to be consumed by hatred. With that being said, we need to take a leap of faith and know that God is in control.”
Appearing alongside Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, who Michelle Knight refers to her as “her best friends”, the three women each appeared separately in the three-minute, 33-second clip, as they thanked those who helped them and to request their privacy be respected.
All three women appear healthy and flashed their warm smiles to the camera.
The set-up interviews, were recorded on July 2 and filmed at the law offices of Jones Day in Cleveland, Ohio and put together pro bono by PR firm Hennes Paynter Communications.
Frequently referring to her faith during her brief statement, Michelle Knight expressed her dearest wish to now help others who have been through similar horrific ordeals of captivity.
“To know that there is someone out there to lean on and to talk to,” she said.
“Thank you for all your prayers. I’m looking forward to my brand new life.”
Michelle Knight has broken her public silence to bravely face the cameras for the first time since her rescue from the house of horrors in May
Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight broke their combined public silence in the video posted late on Monday evening, saying the encouragement of family, friends and the public has enabled them to restart their lives.
The captor, former bus driver Ariel Castro, 52, has pleaded not guilty to a 329-count indictment that includes charges of kidnapping and rape – alleging he kidnapped the women off the streets between 2002 and 2004 and held them captive in his two-story home.
Ariel Castro fathered a 6-year-old daughter with Amanda Berry and is accused of starving and punching Michelle Knight, causing her to miscarry – for which is facing the charge of aggravated murder of a fetus – which could carry the death penalty.
He was arrested on May 6th, shortly after Amanda Berry broke through a door at the home and yelled to neighbors for help.
Amanda Berry was 16 when she disappeared on April 21st, 2003. Gina DeJesus was 14 when she went missing in 2004.
Michelle Knight was the first to vanish in 2002 at age 20.
Kathy Joseph, an attorney for Michelle 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 recognized in public, “so they decided to put voices and faces to their heartfelt messages”.
James Wooley, attorney for Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, also issued a statement saying Michelle 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.
Released from hospital five days after Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight has by all accounts been staying with DeJesus’ family because of her fractious relationship with her own.
When Michelle Knight finally left hospital in mid-May, she thanked the public for their support and the fund created to aid the victims.
A hospital statement said: “Michelle Knight is in good spirits and would like the community to know that she is extremely grateful for the outpouring of flowers and gifts.
“She is especially thankful for the Cleveland Courage Fund. She asks that everyone please continue to respect her privacy at this time.”
It was revealed Michelle Knight is reportedly suffering hearing loss and facial bone damage after years of vicious beatings to her head.
Michelle Knight was 20 when she was taken off the street in 2002 and little was made of her disappearance.
Her family told police that she had run away after her young child was taken from her by the Ohio Department of Family Services.
Action News19 reported in May that Michelle Knight’s mother, Barbara returned to Cleveland after she moved to Naples, Florida, but that Michelle refused to allow her mother to see her.
“I just wish that my daughter would reach out and let me know that she’s there… She’s probably angry at the world because she thought she would never be found but thank God that somebody did,” said Michelle Knight’s mother.
“I don’t want her to think that I forgot about her… Hopefully whatever happened between us, if something did – I hope it heals because I really want to take her back to Florida with me.”
It is still not clear if mother and daughter have reunited.
It has been claimed that Michelle Knight requires facial reconstruction surgery to repair the damage of repeated beatings.
Michelle Knight was the first of the three victims to be abducted. She was last seen at a cousin’s house near West 106th Street and Lorain Avenue in Cleveland in 2002.
But her disappearance did not receive much publicity as she was classed as a runaway and her name was taken off the missing person’s database just 15 months later.
In the aftermath of her rescue it also emerged that Michelle Knight was gang-raped and impregnated in junior high – a year before she suffered more than ten years of abuse under a kidnapper.
Michelle Knight’s mother also said at the time of her rescue that she was looking forward to being reunited with her son, now 13, after she left hospital.
If you want to help Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus and Michelle Knight to recover, you can donate to help the victims at the Cleveland Courage Fund.
Officer Barbara Johnson has described the moment she rescued Michelle Knight in the Cleveland house of horrors, 11 years after the 32-year-old was abducted.
Barbara Johnson was one of the first Cleveland police officers to rush into Ariel Castro’s house on Seymour Avenue after Amanda Berry managed to escape and call 911.
When she found Michelle Knight, the woman grabbed her tightly and begged her not to leave her, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
“Michelle hugged me first, then clutched me and said, <<Don’t let me go>>,” Barbara Johnson said at an awards ceremony for the officers involved in the miraculous rescue.
“You can’t really describe how I felt…it rips the heart out of my chest.”
Officer Barbara Johnson has described the moment she rescued Michelle Knight in the Cleveland house of horrors
The rescue of Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus a decade after they were all feared dead has been called the “Miracle in Cleveland”.
For the officers who arrived at Ariel Castro’s home on May 6, it was also a brush with unimaginable horror.
“When I heard there were people in the house, I ran up to the door, but it was locked from the inside,” Officer Michael Simon recalled.
“So I grabbed the hand rail by the stairs to use as a prying tool…but the other officers kicked the door in.
“Once inside, I felt evil in the house.”
Even the veteran officers who are confronted with human tragedy on a frequent basis could not ignore the emotional impact of rescuing the three girls from a decade of captivity.
“I’ve broke down [crying] a few times on the scene, and in private since then,” Officer Anthony Espada – the first officer on the scene – admitted.
“Those three girls are my heroes… after what went through in that house all those years.”
Cleveland kidnap victim Gina DeJesus gave a thumbs up as she arrived home on Wednesday before being hurried into her mother’s home shielded by family.
Gina DeJesus’ homecoming came hours after Amanda Berry made an emotional return to her loved ones following the young women’s courageous escape from ten years in captivity. Michele Knight, 32, and Amanda Berry’s 6-year-old daughter were also freed after the horrifying ordeal.
Hundreds of well-wishers gathered in front of the DeJesus property which was covered in balloons and signs, reading “Welcome home Gina”.
Gina DeJesus’ aunt Nancy Ruiz spoke on Wednesday and asked for the family to be given time to heal. She thanked those who had supported the family over the years along with the police and FBI for all their hard work.
Nancy Ruiz appealed to the public to be on the look-out for another missing girl Ashley Summers, who was snatched in 2007 from the same Cleveland neighborhood when she was 14.
She said: “There are not enough words to say or express for the joy we feel for the return of our family member Gina.
“We are asking for your support to be patient with us. Give us time and privacy to heal. When we’re ready, I promise you…we will talk to you.”
Gina DeJesus’ mother and father smiled and gave thumbs up to supporters.
“They never gave up hope. Felix never gave up hope that she was alive,” said neighbor Michael Pendershot, 47, who lives three houses down from the DeJesus family.
Everyone in the neighborhood said Gina DeJesus’s kidnapping in 2004 changed them in some way.
Gina DeJesus returns home after ten years in captivity
“After she went missing, my parents didn’t hardly let me out of the house. They never let me walk anywhere,” said Taydreet Maurosa, 20.
Taydreet Maurosa was just 11 when Gina DeJesus went missing. She said the case was in the back of her mind every day as she grew up.
Men wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “guardian angel” stood behind police tape in front of the property as a huge crowd applauded and cheered for the young woman.
Gina DeJesus, 23, arrived home wearing what appeared to be the same yellow, hooded sweatshirt that Amanda Berry had been seen in.
Amanda Berry, 27, was surrounded by police as she swept into the driveway of her sister’s home in Cleveland, Ohio in a motorcade this morning.
One officer carried her 6-year-old young daughter Jocelyn, in a white-hooded sweatshirt, through the back door of the house.
The house had been decked with balloons, flowers, teddy bears and banners which read “We love you Mandy”.
Crowds of neighbors cheered as her sister Beth Serrano appeared from her home minutes later.
Beth Serrano’s voice wavered as she thanked the public and media for their support over many years
She said: “We are so happy to have Amanda home. We request privacy to recover.”
Amanda Berry went missing in 2003 aged 16, a day before her 17th anniversary, but her family say they never gave up hope that she was still alive.
Six police motorcycle outriders escorted her to the house on W 129th street that was festooned with balloons and messages of goodwill.
Weeping friends and several cousins surged forward to the mini-van containing Amanda Berry and her 6-year-old daughter Jocelyn who was born in captivity.
One friend with tears streaming down her face, leaned into the car before it swept into the driveway of the home.
Many in the large crowd wept as they glimpsed Amanda Berry for the first time since she went missing.
Family friend Abby Turnvill said: “This is such a special day. Just to see her again is, like wow. I can’t wait to talk with her and catch up. We got a lot of catching up to do.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Amanda Berry heard her grandmother’s voice for the first time in a decade, with the moment being captured on camera.
Fern Gentry fought back tears as she spoke on the phone to her granddaughter, hours after the daring escape from a Cleveland house.