Information continues to surface on the most obscure Cleveland kidnapping victim, Michelle Knight. Knight appeared in court on August 1 to speak at Ariel Castro’s sentencing hearing. The monster from Cleveland agreed to plea deal that includes a life sentence plus 1000 years in prison, ensuring that he will never see the light of day again, reports CNN.
Knight told the hearing:
I worried what was going to happen to me and the other girls every day.
Later Knight pointedly told Castro:
I spent 11 years in hell – now your hell is just beginning.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Michelle Vanished on August 23, 2002, Near Her Cousin’s Home in Cleveland
According to Martin Flask, Cleveland’s director of public safety, Knight was 22 (now 32) when she was reported missing after last being seen near her cousin’s Cleveland home at West 106th Street and Lorain Avenue.
Alarmingly, she was being held captive by suspected kidnapper Ariel Castro just three miles away.
2. Michelle Just Lost Custody of Her Toddler Son Before Vanishing
Cleveland.com reports in an interview with Barbara Knight, Michelle’s mother:
[Michelle] Knight became pregnant and decided to drop out of school. She dreamed of eventually completing her education to provide her son a better life.
But Barbara Knight said that among her own greatest regrets was becoming involved with an abusive man, whom, she believes, injured her toddler grandson — spurring a chain of events that led Michelle to lose custody of the child.
She vanished not long afterward, on a day when she was scheduled for a court appearance in the custody case, Barbara Knight said.
3. Police Barely Searched for Michelle; Everyone Assumed She Ran Away
Michelle had been victimized even before her disappearance. Prior to her losing custody of her son, her mother said she had a difficult time in school and was even involved in an assault that wasn’t taken very seriously by police. The Daily Mail further reports:
Michelle Knight’s grandmother, Deborah Knight, said the family, after speaking with police and social workers, had accepted that she likely left on her own free will. They believed she was angry that her son had been taken into custody. Michelle was never registered as missing on the Ohio Missing Persons website.
Photo of Michelle Knight
4. Michelle Had a Mental Disability that Made Her an Easy Target for Kidnapping
The Cleveland police’s missing-person report detailing Michelle Knight’s disappearance is brief, stating that she had a mental condition and frequently was confused by her surroundings.
5. Michelle’s Mother Believes She Spotted Her Daughter Once After Her Disappearance
Even after moving to Florida, [Barbara] Knight said she would return to Cleveland to hunt for Michelle. Once, she said, she thought she spotted her walking with an older man at a shopping center. Barbara called her name, but the woman didn’t respond.
6. Michelle Has Still Not Reunited With Her Family
In an interview with Today, Barbara Knight says she still hasn’t seen her daughter.
7. Michelle Was Beaten So Badly She Suffered Hearing Loss and a Fractured Face
Among the three known kidnap victims in the case, Michelle displays the most shocking signs of physical.
Knight, who is believed to be 32, was reportedly beaten repeatedly by her captors and suffered hearing loss and damage to some of the bones in her face.
8. Michelle’s Son’s Whereabouts Are Unknown
Barbara Knight long ago relocated to Florida and remarried, helping raise her new husband’s children. However, no report has made any mention of the whereabouts of Michelle’s son might or the care he might (or might not) be receiving.
9. Michelle Has Spoken to the FBI and Has Been Moved to a “Secure Location”
Of the information she told the bureau we can surmise:
• She may have been pregnant multiple times
• It is unclear if she birthed any children
Meanwhile, a police spokesperson on Tuesday said all three women had been released from the MetroHealth Medical Center and were taken to a “secure location.”
10. Michelle Says There Was a Fourth Woman Kidnapped
A source further noted that Knight told police that there was another woman in the home when she got there, but one day she woke up and the woman was gone. There is writing on the wall in the basement which includes the name of a female and says, “Rest In Peace,” but police do not know if that is related to the case at this time.
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