Cleveland kidnapping victims, Michelle and Gina, became sisters under the most traumatic circumstances. Now, as Michelle is released from the hospital without a proper home to go to, Gina is literally welcoming her into her own family.
Amanda Berry, 27, and Gina DeJesus, 23, were welcomed back to their homes with immense fanfare — citizens gathered outside the houses and cheered triumphantly, leaving balloons and other gifts. The third Cleveland kidnapping victim, Michelle Knight, 30, spent her first days of freedom in a hospital bed being treated for physical and mental abuse, and has not had such a joyous homecoming. Because she grew up in an abusive family before being kidnapped by Ariel Castro, she has no real home to go to — but Gina and her family are changing that.
Michelle Knight Taken In By Gina DeJesus’ Family
After Michelle refused to reunite with her mother, the DeJesus family stepped up and offered to take care of her, Mail Online reports.
“She was Gina’s sister for ten years in that house and she’s still her sister now,” said Lupe Collins, a friend of the family. “They’re going to take her in as their own family member and help her.”
It is an unbelievably moving gesture by the DeJesus family and it also further illuminates just how tightly-woven these three girls have become after surviving Ariel’s alleged horrific acts. Speaking to Good Morning America on May 9, Gina’s mother, Nancy Ruiz, alluded to that, explaining that it initially took some time before Amanda, Gina, and Michelle were okay being separated. For nine years, these three girls were all one another had.
Now, after everything Michelle has gone through — before and during her captivity — she deserves a stable, loving home life, and Lupe insists that’s what she’ll get from the DeJesuses. “They’re a loving family, a giving family. Felix and Nancy will take care of her and make sure she gets the helps she needs.”
Michelle Knight’s Previous Family Struggles
Michelle was reportedly abused by her mother and family and had an extremely difficult life even before she was kidnapped, which is why she refuses to reconnect with them. Her mother, Barbara Knight, told police at the time of Michelle’s disappearance that she had run away after her young child was taken away by the Ohio Department of Family Services, according to Mail Online.
Eleven years later though, Barbara is just happy that her daughter is alive and well, and is hoping that she and Michelle can bury whatever animosity still exists between them. “I just wish that my daughter would reach out and let me know that she’s there,” Barbara, who now lives in Florida, told WKYC.
“I don’t want her to think that I forgot about her… Hopefully whatever happened between us, if something did, I hope it heals because I really want to take her back to Florida with me.” Barbara is reportedly working with a lawyer to fight for access to Michelle.
The most important thing of all is that Michelle finds happiness and comfort after an unimaginable decade of pain and torture. And it’s so heartwarming to see that Gina and her family are so willing to open their doors to Michelle. What do you think, HollywoodLifers?
WATCH: Nancy Ruiz On ‘Good Morning America’
— Andrew Gruttadaro