CLEVELAND (AP) — The three women held captive in a Cleveland house before escaping a year ago Tuesday have spent their first year of freedom in nearly a decade learning to drive, taking boxing lessons and cherishing time with their families.
Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus both said in statements released Monday that they are thankful and growing in many ways.
Michelle Knight said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show Monday that she forgives the man who kidnapped and tortured her and the two others. She said Ariel Castro deserves forgiveness because she’d want to be forgiven if she did wrong, and “that’s the way of life.”
Tuesday is the anniversary of the escape from the house by Knight, Berry and DeJesus. Knight, 33, said she doesn’t see much of the other two women, saying “we’re all now living in our own way.”
DeJesus was 14 when she was kidnapped by Castro. She said she’s enjoying learning how to drive and use new technology. “I am spending time with my family and working with Amanda on a book that we are really excited about,” she said.
Berry said the future is bright for her and thanked her family and friends for support.
“On this day, we decided that the right place for us to be was with other families who have gone through what our family has gone through,” Berry said. “I want these families to know they will always have a special place in our hearts.”
Knight — who has a book coming out Tuesday — said she’s a singer who just recorded a song, and she’s also training to be a boxer.
Knight said in the interview that she was surprised when Castro, who pleaded guilty in August, killed himself in prison, wondering “why would he hurt his children like that?”
The three all hoped their captor would plead guilty to avoid a trial, according to documents released by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office Monday, and the FBI and Cleveland Police Department also did not want the women to be re-traumatized by a trial.
“They say they understand the need to put Castro away for life,” according to a July 11, 2013 prosecutor’s document weighing the pros and cons of seeking the death penalty.
Castro pleaded guilty to hundreds of charges last year and committed suicide in prison shortly after beginning a life sentence.
DeJesus was 14, Berry was 16 and Knight was 20 when they disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004. They were rescued from Castro’s run-down house May 6, 2013, after Berry broke through a screen door.
Berry and DeJesus are collaborating with two Washington Post reporters on a book due out next year. Charles Ramsey, the man credited with helping the women escape from the house, also has written a book.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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