Cleveland Kidnapping Victims Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus And Michelle Knight Speak Out For First Time
Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, who were allegedly imprisoned by Ariel Castro for ten years, and recently set free, have broken their silence. Berry, DeJesus, and Knight released a video last week thanking their supporters, especially those who donated to the Cleveland Courage Fund. The Cleveland Courge Fund has raised more than $1 million, according to their website, to help the three women transition into independence.
The three women have remained silent about their time in captivity, and this video is their first public statement since their escape in May. Though they do not appear in the video together, their statements share a common resilience. “Walking hand in hand with my best friend, I will not let the situation define who I am. I will define the situation,” Knight declares in the video. Now 32, Knight was kidnapped when she was 21.
“Everyone who has been there to support us has been a blessing,” Berry, 27, says in the video. Berry, who was 16 when she was taken in 2003, has a six-year-old daughter, fathered by Castro, who is also reportedly receiving an individual trust through the Cleveland Courage Fund.
DeJesus, who was just 14 when captured in 2004, appears much more reserved in the video. With the help of her parents who sit by her side, though, she manages to thank all those who have donated to the fund.
The accused kidnaper and abuser, Castro, is currently in police custody under an $8 million bond, and a 329-count indictment that covers half of the decade long kidnapping has been filed against him in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, according to Cleveland.com. The indictment reportedly details various accounts of rape and assault, and includes one count of aggravated murder for the alleged termination of a pregnancy sometime in late 2006-early 2007.
Castro, who has recently been declared mentally fit to stand trial for his crimes, was denied the right to any contact with the daughter he fathered last week, according to NBC News. The prosecution, led by Timothy McGinty, plans on filing a new indictment with more charges against Castro on July 24.
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