Cleveland Kidnap Victim Michelle Knight Leaves Hospital
(CLEVELAND) — Cleveland kidnap victim Michelle Knight, who may have had the most harrowing ordeal in Ariel Castro’s house, said Friday morning she was in “good spirits,” but instructed the hospital that she didn’t want any visitors. Still, by Friday afternoon a spokeswoman for MetroHealth Hospital confirmed that Knight had left the facility, but would not say where she went.
“Michelle Knight has been discharged from MetroHealth. She is asking for her privacy at this time,” the hospital said in a statement.
Knight was freed from more than a decade of captivity along with Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus Monday, and Berry and DeJesus have gone home to warm welcomes from their families and their neighbors.
But Knight, 32, had remained in the hospital, but it’s unclear why she left or whether she has had any significant contact with her family.
“Michelle Knight is in good spirits and would like the community to know that she is extremely grateful for the outpouring of flowers and gifts,” according to a statement released by the hospital Friday morning. “She is especially thankful for the Cleveland Courage Fund. She asks that everyone please continue to respect her privacy at this time.”
A hospital official, however, told ABC News that Knight told them she didn’t want any visitors, remaining largely in seclusion.
Knight appears to have had her own special hell before, during and after her captivity.
She was the first of Castro’s victims to be kidnapped, according to a police complaint when she was snatched on Aug. 23, 2002. She was 20 years old at the time and in the midst of a custody fight over a child she now hasn’t seen now in more than a decade.
And while there were major publicity campaigns to find Berry and DeJesus, few outside of Knight’s family knew she was missing until she was discovered inside Castro’s house. A missing persons report was filed by the family, but apparently she was dismissed as a runaway by authorities and the case wasn’t given much attention.
Her captor appears to have singled Knight out for particular abuse, according to a police report obtained by ABC News affiliate WEWS.
When Berry became pregnant, Castro told Knight to help Berry during labor, with her only help a kiddie swimming pool intended to keep the mess to a minimum.
“Michelle delivered the baby and Michelle stated that Ariel told her that if the baby died, he’d kill her,” the police report states.
In what must have been terrifying on several levels for Knight, the newborn baby — named Jocelyn — stopped breathing.
“Michelle stated that Joceyln (victim 4) stopped breathing at one point, but she (Knight) breathed into her mouth and ‘breathed for her,'” the report states.
Knight may have saved both their lives at that point.
The woman told police that Castro got her pregnant “at least” five times. Each time Castro forced an end to the pregnancy with his own cruel version of an abortion, the police report said.
“She stated that he’d starve her for at least two weeks, then he’d repeatedly punch her in the stomach until she miscarried,” the police report says.
The intensity of Knight’s relief at finally being rescued was recorded by a Cleveland police officer identified only by his last name Johnson, who wrote the report of the women’s release.
Police arrived at the house after Berry escaped, but Knight and DeJesus remained inside. The officers first checked the basement, but found no one.
They then walked up the stairs to the second floor.
“As we neared the top of the stairs Officer Espada hollered out ‘Cleveland police,’ at which time Michelle Knight ran and threw herself into PO Espada’s arms,” Johnson wrote in his report.
When DeJesus emerged from another room, “Officer Espada then put Michelle down, who then jumped into my arms,” Johnson wrote.
Since the women’s rescue, Berry and DeJesus have gone home to warm welcomes by their families and neighbors.
There is no word on why Knight left the hospital. She reportedly has had minimal contact with her family.
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