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 (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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