(NEW YORK) — Michelle Knight, of one three Cleveland women who survived a decade of imprisonment and torture, begged kidnapper Ariel Castro not to abduct other women, she told Dr. Phil McGraw in an interview aired in part Tuesday.
Knight remembered Castro telling her that he would let her go after he got two other girls.
“No, you don’t need to do that,” Knight recalled telling Castro. “I begged him not to bring any more there to suffer the hell I went through.”
Knight described being abducted by Castro on a day when she was going to an appointment about custody of her 2-year-old son that had been taken away after being attacked by her mother’s boyfriend. Castro offered her a ride when he found her asking for directions at a Cleveland dollar store just blocks from her home.
Castro got Knight into his house by telling her he would give her a puppy for her son. She got nervous when she got into the house and didn’t see or hear puppies. Before she knew it, Castro had tied her up on a wall sideways “like an ornament.”
She was eventually taken to the basement where a large, rusty chain was used to tie her body and neck to a pole.
“I was shocked. The only thing I can do is cry, begging him let me go back to my son,” she said. “Please don’t do this to me and he said he can’t take me back and then he threw money at me.”
“He was obsessed with prostitutes and also he thought I was a 13-year-old prostitute,” Knight said. “When he found out my real age, he got mad.”
Knight described a hellish torture in the first few months when she was Castro’s lone victim. She was repeatedly punched, whipped and raped. In her first winter she had only a single sheet and no clothes to keep her warm in the unheated house. She was so cold her lips would turn blue and she could see her breath.
At Christmas, Castro taunted her by saying her son was spending the holiday with someone else.
In those first months she was once able to pick the lock on her chains, and she ran to escape when she heard him returning.
She was so terrified of him that, “I’m halfway out the window and I ran back in and chained myself as best I could….That’s the last time I had a chance to get out,” she said.
Knight said that when she was first pregnant by Castro he punched her in the stomach with a barbell to abort the fetus.
Knight said she did not think she was the first girl that Castro had done this to. He raped and beat her countless times and she said he had a fetish for choking. She recalled Castro “constantly” watching a television show about people who had “really bad sexual problems” and then wanting to re-create all of the scenarios with her.
“I hated him,” she said. “I told him that he was a monster.”
Knight said it was the thought of her son’s face and his voice telling her not to give up that kept her alive.
“I want my son to know me as a victor, not a victim,” she said. “And I wanted him to know that I survived loving him. His love got me through.”
Knight is the first of the three women to publicly tell her story, with a two-part appearance on the Dr. Phil show, airing on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Amanda Berry, 27, and Gina DeJesus, 23, announced a book contract in October, but Knight, 32, declined to be part of the deal.
“Three women were taken, three women were rescued, but only two went home,” Dr. Phil said in a news release, alluding to Knight’s refusal to reunite with her family after the women escaped.
“Knight recalls the day-to-day details of her decade in captivity in a manner that can be described as passionate, moving and poignant,” a news release from the Dr. Phil show said. “She is the self-proclaimed most hated victim in the house, and according to Knight, suffered the most abuse at the hands of Castro.”
Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts of rape, kidnapping, torture and aggravated murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 1,000 years by an Ohio judge on Aug 1. He was found dead in his jail cell on Sept. 3.
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