Reporting Linh Bui
CLEVELAND (WJZ) — Breaking their silence. The three women kidnapped and held captive in an Ohio home for a decade finally speak to the public.
Linh Bui has the astounding video.
The incredible video is short, only three and a half minutes. In it, the three women appear separately but they share the same, heartfelt message.
“I want to thank everyone who has helped me and my family,” said Amanda Berry.
“Thank you for the support,” said Gina DeJesus.
“Thank you, everyone, for your love, support and donations,” said Michelle Knight.
Berry, DeJesus and Knight appear happy and healthy, smiling as they thank the public.
“Everyone who has been there to support us has been a blessing to have such an outpouring of love and kindness,” Berry said.
The last time we heard Berry’s voice was two months ago when she called 911 after escaping from a nightmare.
“I’ve been kidnapped and I’ve been missing for 10 years and I’m here. I’m free now!” she said in the call.
The women endured a decade of torture trapped inside an Ohio house, they say at the hands of Ariel Castro. Charges against him include kidnapping and rape; he’s pleaded not guilty.
Berry even gave birth inside the home; Castro allegedly fathered her 6-year-old daughter.
“I’m getting stronger each day and having my privacy has helped immensely. I ask that everyone continue to respect our privacy and give us time to have a normal life,” Berry said.
Knight was held captive the longest; her injuries were so severe, she needed facial reconstruction.
“I may have been through hell and back, but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face,” Knight said.
Baltimore psychologist Elizabeth Handy says although the women seem OK, they likely need more intensive therapy.
“These women not only suffer from PTSD, they missed out on major developmental milestones so they will have a lot of catching up to do,” Handy said.
The women never mention their accused attacker in the video. They focus on the future, not the past.
“Thank you for all of your prayers. I’m looking forward to my brand new life. Thank you,” Knight said.
The Cleveland Courage Fund was set up to help the women start their new loves. As of July 2, organizers say more than $1 million has been donated.
Last week, a judge ruled Castro competent to stand trial. His next court appearance is scheduled for July 24.