CLEVELAND — Cleveland kidnapping victims Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight released a video Monday thanking people from around the world for their support. It was their first public statements since being rescued in May, after nearly a decade of being held against their will.
The women said they were extremely grateful for “the tremendous outpouring of kindness they have received and wished to put voices and faces to their heartfelt messages with this video,” according to information posted on the website.
Knight, who reportedly had five miscarriages during her time in captivity, said she had “been through hell and back” but that she knows she can now “walk through hell with a smile on my face” and that she wouldn’t let the ordeal change her or fill her with hatred.
The video was recorded on July 2 at the law offices of Jones Day in Cleveland.
Berry was last seen after finishing her shift at a Burger King in 2003 on the eve of her 17th birthday. DeJesus disappeared at age 14 in 2004, and Knight vanished in August 2002, at age 21.
The three women and Amanda Berry’s daughter were found in early May 2013 in the Cleveland home of Ariel Castro. Castro now faces kidnapping and rape charges.
Castro was indicted in June on 329 counts for allegedly kidnapping and holding the three young women captive in his Cleveland house.
For information about the Cleveland Courage Fund, established to help survivors Knight, DeJesus, Berry and Berry’s daughter, please visit www.clevelandcouragefund.org.