Cleveland Kidnap Victim Michelle Knight’s Ordeal
(CLEVELAND) — Perhaps the woman who had the most harrowing ordeal during the 10 years of captivity in Ariel Castro’s Cleveland house was the oldest of the trio, Michelle Knight.
Knight was the first to be abducted, making her the victim who lived the longest as a prisoner and sex slave, according to police records.
But Knight, 32, appears to have had her own special hell before, during and after her captivity.
When Knight was kidnapped on Aug. 23, 2002, she was 20 years old and in the midst of a custody fight over a child she hasn’t seen now in more than a decade. And while there were major publicity campaigns to find the other two women — Amanda Berry and Gina 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 Knight 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-TV.
When Berry became pregnant, Castro told Knight to help her give birth, 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 Joceyln — 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 he 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.
Knight remains in the hospital and has had minimal contact with her family.
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