Kidnap victim Michelle Knight has requested that her family members not visit her in the hospital as she recovers from what has been an 11-year ordeal, apparently because those closest to her didn’t look for her after she disappeared.
32-year old Knight vanished in 2002 after a custody dispute involving her then-young son, and her family thought she had run away. When kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro allowed Knight and the two other women he held captive–Amanda Berry, 27, and Gina DeJesus, 23–to watch television, he taunted them with footage of candlelight vigils held in their honor. Knight’s family held no vigil, in part because they believed she’d left of her own will.
“They took him and she went out and took off and never came back,” said her grandmother. The family did file a missing persons report, however.
Knight, who was held the longest of the three women, reportedly suffered five miscarriages at the hands of Castro, who allegedly beat her in the stomach and starved her while she was pregnant. She remains in the hospital’s care, though the other two women have been released. Ohio prosecutors say they are pursuing a charge of aggravated murder on Knight’s behalf, which carries a possible death sentence.
The three women were rescued earlier this week after Amanda Berry saw her chance to escape with her 6-year old daughter and took it, banging on the outer door of the home to get the attention of anyone nearby. Neighbor Charles Ramsey was just finishing dinner when he heard the noise.
“I’m eating my McDonald’s; I come outside; I see this girl going nuts,” he said. “I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway!”
Investigators said today that they’ve confirmed that Berry’s daughter belongs to Castro. Ramsey said he was shocked to learn of the horrors that went on just feet away from his own home.
“I barbecued with this dude! We ate ribs and whatnot, and listened to salsa music!” he said.
Michelle Knight has reportedly been released from the hospital and is asking for her privacy as she continues recovery. She has thanked everyone who helped with the rescue and anyone involved with setting up a fund for her, Berry, and DeJesus.