in brief: ohio kidnapping victims release video to thank public for generosity and support
The three women at the centre of a decade-long kidnapping ordeal have released a video thanking the public for their support. The video is the first public statement from the women after their dramatic rescue in May.
Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus, along with Ms Dejesus’ parents, appear in the video, to thank well-wishers and those who had respected the women’s privacy.
Ms Berry, whose six-year-old daughter was born in captivity in the Cleveland house, said she was ‘growing stronger every day.’
‘First and foremost, I want everyone to know how happy I am to be home with my family and my friends,’ she said.
‘It’s been unbelievable. I want to thank everyone who has helped me and my family through this entire ordeal. Everyone who has been there to support us – it’s been a blessing to have such an outpouring of love and kindness.’
‘I would say ‘thank you’ for the support,’ said a soft-spoken Gina DeJesus, 23. Her parents urged families of other missing people to continue their search.
Ms Knight used the video to give thanks for the public’s donations, which she said she was using to build a 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 with my head held high and with my feet firmly on the ground,’ she said.
According to a Boston news site, more than one million dollars has been donated to a fund established for the women.
The women had disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16, and 20 years old. They were allegedly held captive by Ariel Castro for nearly a decade. Castro has been charged with rape, kidnapping, and murder. If found guilty, he could face the death penalty.
Kathy Joseph, 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.’
She said they’re being recognized in public, ‘so they decided to put voices and faces to their heartfelt messages.’