Rescued Cleveland women happy to be home
CLEVELAND — Three women rescued from a house a decade after they disappeared said Sunday that they are happy to be home and pleaded for privacy so they can heal and reconnect with their families.
An attorney for the women also said they are extremely grateful for the support of family, law enforcement and the community.
Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight remain in seclusion and released their first statements since they were found May 6 after Berry escaped and called 911.
Ariel Castro is suspected of imprisoning the women inside his house for nine years or more, allowing them outside only a few moments, and raping them. A DNA test also confirmed that Castro fathered a 6-year-old girl who Berry gave birth to in the house. The girl escaped the house with Berry.
Castro is being held on $8 million bond. The 52-year-old former school bus driver was charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.
The women, now in their 20s and 30s, vanished separately between 2002 and 2004. At the time, they were 14, 16 and 20 years old.
Attorney Jim Wooley read statements attributed to all three women.
Knight, who was the first to disappear and the last of the three released from the hospital, said, “Thank you to everyone for your support and good wishes. I am healthy, happy and safe and will reach out to family, friends and supporters in good time.”
Berry added: “Thank you so much for everything you're doing and continue to do. I am so happy to be home with my family.”
And DeJesus, the youngest of the three, said: “I am so happy to be home, and I want to thank everybody for all your prayers. I just want time now to be with my family.”
The Associated Press does not usually identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault, but the women's names were widely circulated by their families, friends and law enforcement authorities for years during their disappearances and after they were found.
The attorney for the women said none of them will do any media interviews until the criminal case against Castro is over. He also asked that they be given privacy.
“Give them the time, the space, and the privacy so that they can continue to get stronger,” Wooley said.
Castro was represented at his first court appearance Thursday by public defender Kathleen Demetz, who said she can't speak to his guilt or innocence and advised him not to give any media interviews that might jeopardize his case.
Castro's two brothers, who were initially taken into custody but released Thursday after investigators said there was no evidence against them, told CNN that they fear people still believe they had something to do with the three missing women.
Onil and Pedro Castro said they've been getting death threats even after police decided to release them. Pedro Castro said he would have turned in his brother if he had known he was involved in the women's disappearance.
“Brother or no brother,” he told CNN.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Scathing report says college trustees fail in mission
- ISIS beheads American photojournalist who was kidnapped 2 years ago in Syria
- Monsoon rains wreak havoc in Arizona
- Health care data breaches hit 30M patients and counting
- Grand jury to hear evidence in Missouri shooting
- NRA’s ad campaign targets Bloomberg’s push to unify advocates of gun control
- Perry defiant at booking
- Simple changes — nicotine drug, phone calls for reassurance — found to help more smokers stop
- Weather keeps Calif. fire in check
- Woman, 5 children held hostage in home
- Agency makes high-tech push to improve military vehicles