Women in Ohio kidnap case thank public for support - FOX 35 News Orlando

Women in Ohio kidnap case thank public for support

Posted: Updated:

By THOMAS J. SHEERAN
Associated Press

CLEVELAND (AP) - Stylish and smiling, three women allegedly held captive in a Cleveland home for a decade offered thanks on YouTube for emotional and financial backing they've received since going "through hell and back."

From Amanda Berry, 27: "I want everyone to know how happy I am to be home, with my family, my friends," she said.

"I would say 'thank you' for the support," said a soft-spoken Gina DeJesus, 23, in response to prompting from a narrator.

And from Michelle Knight, 32, who wasn't a familiar face on a milk carton around town like the other two, came a sometimes halting yet defiant reading of a statement.

"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," she said. "I will not let the situation define who I am. I will define the situation. I don't want to be consumed by hatred."

The 3½-minute video, produced last week and posted at midnight Monday, was filmed in a Cleveland law firm overlooking treetops, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Lake Erie.

DeJesus' parents, Felix DeJesus and Nancy Ruiz, joined the heartfelt statements of gratitude, thanking the public for donations to a fund set up to help the women. More than $1 million has been donated.

Ruiz encouraged parents with missing loved ones to reach out for assistance. "Count on your neighbors," she said. "Don't be afraid to ask for the help because help is available."

The women have turned aside media interview requests and appealed again for privacy since they were rescued in May when Berry broke through a door and yelled to neighbors for help.

The women had disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16, and 20 years old. The owner of the home where they were found, 52-year-old former bus driver Ariel Castro, was arrested and has pleaded not guilty to a 329-count indictment alleging he kidnapped them off the streets and held them captive in his two-story home.

In the video, none of the women had any visible scars of the abuse they said they suffered. Castro fathered a 6-year-old daughter with Berry and is accused of starving and punching Knight, causing her to miscarry.

"I am getting stronger each day," Berry said. "Having my privacy has helped immensely."

The trio wants to maintain that privacy, according to a statement from the team of lawyers and crisis management experts helping them without charge.

Castro's trial is scheduled for next month but could be delayed if the defense asks for more preparation time. Last week a judge rejected Castro's request to see Berry's child fathered by him.

Castro's lawyers did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on the video and on whether they were concerned it might bias jurors.

In the video, the women were smiling and appeared upbeat.

Berry, the only one who has been in photographs that have appeared publicly since her release, had shorter hair with a blonde streak in it. Knight, who authorities said had been taken captive first, wore glasses, had closely cropped hair and spoke a bit haltingly.

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."

___

Online:

Video of women: http://youtu.be/oG0WePdZoxg

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • More National NewsMore>>

  • Viral video shows TSA agents patting down young children

    Viral video shows TSA agents patting down young children

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 3:13 PM EDT2014-04-23 19:13:13 GMT
    In a video that is quickly going viral, a shocked father recorded TSA agents giving his young children full-body pat-downs. His son was just two years old, while his daughter was six years old.
    In a video that is quickly going viral, a shocked father recorded TSA agents giving his young children full-body pat-downs. His son was just two years old, while his daughter was six years old.
  • IRS employees with tax and conduct issues still receive awards, watchdog report finds

    IRS employees with tax and conduct issues still receive awards, watchdog report finds

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:20 AM EDT2014-04-23 15:20:07 GMT
    IRS employees who had been disciplined for tax and conduct issues were nonetheless rewarded with monetary awards or time off, according to a watchdog report released Tuesday. The report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that while for the most part the reward program for IRS workers complied with federal regulations, employees who had themselves failed to pay their federal taxes and had d...
    IRS employees who had been disciplined for tax and conduct issues were nonetheless rewarded with monetary awards or time off, according to a watchdog report released Tuesday. The report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that while for the most part the reward program for IRS workers complied with federal regulations, employees who had themselves failed to pay their federal taxes and had d...
  • Second-grader says teacher took away Bible during reading time

    Second-grader says teacher took away Bible during reading time

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:41 AM EDT2014-04-23 14:41:16 GMT
    The family of a second-grade student at a Texas elementary school says their daughter's teacher took her Bible away during a "read to myself" session. The Liberty Institute, a nonprofit legal group specializing in religious liberty cases, says the family reached out for assistance after a teacher at Hamilton Elementary in Cypress allegedly told the girl not to bring the Bible back to school again.The teacher reported...
    The family of a second-grade student at a Texas elementary school says their daughter's teacher took her Bible away during a "read to myself" session. The Liberty Institute, a nonprofit legal group specializing in religious liberty cases, says the family reached out for assistance after a teacher at Hamilton Elementary in Cypress allegedly told the girl not to bring the Bible back to school again.The teacher reported...
Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices