Cleveland Kidnapping Survivor Details Horrific Circumstances

By: CBS/AP (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
By: CBS/AP (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
Michelle Knight during her interview with Dr. Phil, which aired Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. / The Dr. Phil Show

Michelle Knight during her interview with Dr. Phil, which aired Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. / The Dr. Phil Show

CLEVELAND (CBS/AP) - Michelle Knight, one of three women held captive in Ariel Castro's Cleveland home for over a decade, told Dr. Phil in a taped interview aired Tuesday that she was lured into Castro's home in August 2002 on the premise that she would be given a puppy, but was instead immediately hung from a pipe and left dangling for 24 hours.

She said Castro used an orange extension cord to tie her neck, hands and feet and hang her "like a fish." Knight said she was later untied, taken to the basement of the home and chained around the neck to a pole.

"This is where you're going to stay until I can trust you," Knight says she was told by Castro.

Knight sad Castro told her, "You're only going to be here as a friend, that's it. And I'll let you go on Christmas."

Little did she know she would be held captive in his Cleveland home for more than ten years.

Knight said she was forced her to wear a motorcycle helmet while in the basement which made it hard for her to breathe and ultimately caused her to pass out.

Knight told the psychologist host, Phil McGraw, that she wore that helmet for the first three weeks in the house.

She said she was raped, hit, whipped, choked and was made to go to the bathroom in a bucket. Knight said she was only given one shower in a year and that Castro withheld clothes and blankets from her.

"I never talked to him. I hated him," she told Dr. Phil. "I told him that he was a monster."

When asked by the talk show host whether she ever felt like she just wanted to die, she said the thought of her son kept her going.

"I want my son to know me as a victor, not a victim and I want him to know that I survived, loving him. His love got me through."

Knight said she was eventually moved from the basement to a bedroom upstairs, with boarded windows, where she was chained to a bed.

She said she was "lonely, scared" and would cry daily, "always praying to God to pop the locks or do something."

Knight also divulged that she became pregnant in the first year she was held captive. When Castro found out, she said, he punched her in the stomach.

"I was standing up and he punched me with a barbell," she told Dr. Phil.

Knight said she first became aware that she may not have been the only victim of Castro's when she noticed an area in the basement one day that said "rest in peace." She said she couldn't make out the name that was written.

She described Castro as being "obsessed with prostitutes." Knight said he "always came home drunk" and frequently watched a show about people who have "really bad sexual problems."

"I would let him know there's places out there he can go to get help and he doesn't have to do this anymore," she said.

The interview also touched on the day Knight first encountered Amanda Berry, the second female abducted by Castro, and later rescued.

"She looked like she wanted to cry, but she didn't cry," Knight said of her first encounter with Berry.

She said the two were not allowed to stay in the same room together for long and they maybe only saw each other 6 or 7 times in that first year.

"Sometimes she would cry and I would tell her everything will be ok and one day we'll get home. We just have to wait it out," Knight said.

Knight also didn't hold back on discussing her mother in the televised interview.

She said that even before she was abducted, she was held captive by her mother.

"... I wasn't allowed out, I wasn't allowed to have friends," she said.

Knight said her mother wanted her to be "as dumb as a doornail" so that she would collect money from SSI (Supplemental Security Income)..

Dr. Phil said he obtained a comment from Knight's mother who claims her daughter's point of view has been "altered by that monster and what he did to her"...."What I have heard that she said about me breaks my heart."

Knight was kidnapped in August 2002, when she was 20. Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus escaped from Ariel Castro's house on May 6, 2013 when Berry pushed out a door and called for help. Knight has been the most public of the kidnap victims since then and even made a visit to Castro's neighborhood before his home was demolished.

Castro, 53, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.

A month into his sentence, Castro was found dead in his cell. His hanging death was ruled a suicide, but a prison report indicated he may have died accidentally while choking himself for a possible sexual thrill.


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