Ohio kidnap survivor speaks about imprisonment

Ohio kidnap survivor speaks about imprisonment

Ohio kidnap survivor speaks about imprisonment

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by ABCNews

WHAS

Posted on November 7, 2013 at 9:37 AM

(ABCNews)-- Michelle Knight, one of three Cleveland women who survived a decade of imprisonment and torture, was forced to help captor Ariel Castro prepare a torture chamber for his third victim, she told Dr. Phil McGraw.

Knight, now 32, had seen television reports about the disappearance of 14-year-old Gina DeJesus, when Castro forced her to help him.

"He was telling me that I needed to help him prepare another room and I didn't want to prepare that room," Knight said. "I had to help him drill holes in the wall to put the chains through to hook us together."

PHOTOS: Inside Ariel Castro's House of Horrors

"He had told me he was bringing us somebody in the house and he told me to be very quiet. All I hear is fighting in the basement. I could hear things crash and I could hear somebody screaming, 'Get off me. Get off me,'" Knight said. "All I could hear was a girl screaming for help and nobody comes, nobody helps her."

A few weeks after hearing about DeJesus' disappearance, Castro told Knight his daughter was coming over and he wanted Knight to meet her.

"I knew that wasn't his daughter," Knight said. She remembered a rare moment when Castro left her and DeJesus in the bathroom alone together for a few minutes while DeJesus did her hair.

"I told her I knew who she was," Knight said. "I whispered it in her ear. 'You're Gina DeJesus.' And she whispered at me, and she said, 'You know who I am?'"

Knight told DeJesus, who is now 23, not to tell Castro that she knew who she was or else there would be consequences.

Castro treated DeJesus "halfway decent" at first, Knight said, because she was new and Castro didn't want to scare her right away.

Knight and DeJesus were chained together often and they became close, Knight said.

"There was times that he would hit her and I would stop him and take the hit. I would jump in front of her," she said.

She would take the punishment because "I know how it feels to be hurt and I didn't want her to feel that," she said.

Knight would tell Castro, "I'm the one you hate" and take the beating for DeJesus.

After, DeJesus "would cry and ask me why did I do that and I would say because I care."

Knight said DeJesus saved her life after one of her five miscarriages, caused by Castro starving her, jumping on her stomach and kicking her.

"There was a time in the house I was going to die but Gina picked me up in her arms and said come back... I begged her to let me die, but she wouldn't," Knight said.

She said Castro liked Amanda Berry, his third victim, because "I think he had an obsession with blondes."

Knight told Dr. Phil she never saw anyone on the news looking for her and that Castro taunted her about her family.

"He'll see Amanda's mother on TV and the first thing he'll say to me is, 'Where's your family? Why don't you have any? They must not really love you,'" she recalled. "And it would hurt because I knew my family didn't care and I knew they wasn't there for me because they never was."

"And to see Amanda have her mother, I just wanted her to be my mother. I wanted her to say those things to me," she said. "It was just extremely painful to have somebody coming in your room day after day telling you, 'Your family doesn't care about you. You never had a family that loved you and that's the reason why I hate you – because I can abuse you and nobody would care.'"

Knight said Castro tested the women by giving them what seemed like an opportunity to get away, but he would use mirrors and peepholes to watch them. He told them that anyone who tried to escape and anyone who helped would be killed. He occasionally let them in the backyard with wigs on, but kept a gun within reach.

Knight developed a close bond with DeJesus and said she still loves her to this day. She and Berry are "okay," but not the "best of friends."

"[Berry] was one of those girls that really didn't get it," Knight said. "She would see it and she didn't believe it. She wanted to think that it wasn't happening. That's what type of girl she was in the house. He treated her totally differently so she looked at the situation in a different way."

The day Berry, who's now 27, went into the labor with her daughter, Knight was the one who delivered the baby.

"I see the baby's head and the baby is blue and we need to get the baby out right now," she said. "The baby finally comes out and I tell [Berry], 'You just got to pray to God that I can get her to breathe.'"

"[Castro] told me if the baby didn't come out alive that he would blame me," Knight said. "I knew if I didn't get her to breathe that he would kill me right then and there."

Knight used two fingers to give the baby compressions and did mouth-to-mouth. Five minutes later, the little girl started screaming.

When Dr. Phil asked Knight why she thought Berry was allowed to have a baby after Castro's violent refusal to let her have one, Knight said she thought it was because "he didn't want a girl like me to have a kid."

"I was a girl that couldn't be broken, a girl that couldn't be underestimated," she said. "When he figured out he couldn't control me very much, he didn't want to give me a kid."

She also told of a day that Castro's daughters came over with their boyfriends and children after hearing that there were three women in the house. They wanted to search the house and got as far as the basement, where the three women were hidden, before Knight said Castro told them the basement was under construction and they couldn't go down.

They came back the next day and Castro hid the women in the truck outside.

On the day the women escaped, 11 years after Knight had been taken, she remembered she and DeJesus hearing commotion downstairs and thinking the house was being broken into.

When she saw a police officer in the hallway, she ran toward her, "I jumped on her and I never let go."

She didn't know at the time that Berry had managed to escape from downstairs with her daughter, run across the street and call 911. Knight said it made her "sad" that Berry didn't mention her or DeJesus in the 911 call, which she later heard.

"It was a like a roller coaster of mixed emotions ... We're going home. That's the only thing I can remember is that I was going home," she said. "I wanted to kiss the ground that I was walking on and thank God for getting me out of that hell-hole."

Knight is the first of the three women to publicly tell her story and Dr. Phil said the show has created a fund for Knight and made a substantial donation to the fund.

Berry and Gina DeJesus announced a book contract in October, but Knight declined to be part of the deal.

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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