Cleveland kidnapping victim Michelle Knight is about to tell her story. In the taped two-part episode of the U.S. talk show “Dr Phil,” Knight describes her horrible condition during her 11-year captivity in the hands of her tormentor Ariel Castro.
Knight, 32, was the first of three girls abducted and continuously raped by Castro in his ramshackle house in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2002, she disappeared in August 2002 as she was leaving a cousin’s house. She was scheduled to appear in court for her son’s custody case on the same day.
The other victims were Amanda Berry, who was kidnapped in 2003 at age 17; Gina DeJesus, who went missing at age 14 in 2004; and Berry’s daughter, whom she gave birth in 2006 and was fathered by Castro.
“Knight describes the horrible conditions in the house and reveals the various methods of physical, mental. And sexual abuse that Castro inflicted on her, some of which include being ‘tied up like a fish’ and spending weeks chained up and tortured in Castro’s basement,” a statement released by the show reads.
Phil McGraw, the host of the eponymous show, responded to questions sent by Cleveland.com, saying, “Out of respect for Ms Berry and Ms DeJesus, she chose to speak about their shared experiences only from her point of view.
“When you listen to her describe the horrible living conditions and how she was treated, you wonder how anyone lasted a day let alone more than a decade.”
He added, “In the 12 years of doing the ‘Dr Phil’ show, no one has changed me like Michelle Knight and her story of survival.”
Berry and DeJesus are partnering with Pulitzer Prize winner Mary Jordan from The Washington Post to write a book.
The interview is Knight’s “singular voice in relating her experiences across those horrific years as well as now,” McGraw said.
The girls escaped Castro’s house on May 6, 2013 after Berry was able to call for help from the neighbours. He pleaded guilty to over 900 charges against him, including kidnapping, rape, and aggravated murder, and was subsequently sentenced to life in prison plus 1000 years.
Knight was the only victim present in the courtroom when the sentence was handed.
A month into his sentence in September, though, Castro was found hanging by a bed sheet in his cell, and was pronounced dead after he was taken to a hospital. The preliminary autopsy found that his cause of death was suicide by hanging, but in October, the state released that he may have died from auto-erotic asphyxiation instead of suicide.
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