The three women who were kidnapped and held captive for about a decade released a video Monday night to express their gratitude for the public’s help and encouragement.
The women were first found when one of the victims, 27-year-old Amanda Berry, escaped and was discovered by a neighbor on May 6. Berry says she is getting stronger every day.
“First and foremost, I want everyone to know how happy I am to be home with my family my and friends,” Berry says. “It’s been unbelievable. It has been a blessing to have such an outpouring of love and kindness, I’m getting stronger each day and having my privacy has helped immensely.”
The video, which was recorded on July 2, is the first time the victims publicly spoke since their homecoming. Gina DeJesus, 23, sat next to her parents who also thanked the public.
“Count on your neighbors,” DeJesus’ mother said. “Don’t be afraid to ask for the help because help is available.”
“I may have been through hell and back, but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face and my head held high and my feet firmly on the ground,” victim, 32-year-old Michelle Knight, said.
Ariel Castro, 52, was arrested on 329 charges including kidnapping and rape. He pleaded not guilty and his trial is scheduled for Aug. 5, with a hearing on July 24.