Michelle Knight is one of three women, including Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, who was held captive and brutalized by Ariel Castro for more than 10 years. Before the women’s ’20/20′ special, here are five things you should know about Michelle.
May 6, 2013 is a day that will live with Michelle Knight, 38, forever. It’s the day that her fellow captive, Amanda Berry, 33, made the urgent 911 call that freed the three women from the home of Ariel Castro, who had abducted Michelle, Amanda, and a third woman name Gina DeJesus between the years of 2002 and 2004. Now, years after their escape, the women are sharing their horrifying experiences. Before 20/20‘s latest special, here are five things to know about survivor Michelle Knight.
1) She’s opened up about her difficult childhood. Prior to her abduction, Michelle candidly shared that she suffered through emotional, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her family. “You name it, I went through it,” she said. “I got to the point where I said, ‘I’m more safer on the streets than I am living in my own home.’ So, I basically ran away.” Michelle was 14 when she left home.
2) Michelle has a son named Joey. After living on the streets for some time, Michelle was sent back home and began seeing a boy with whom she had a child at the age of 18. Her son, Joey, was eventually taken into social services after an incident involving her mother’s boyfriend, where Joey’s knee was fractured.
3) She was the first woman abducted by Ariel Castro. Before kidnapping of Amanda and Gina, Michelle was Ariel Castro’s first victim. Michelle was captured by Castro when she was only 21 years old, sometime during the year of 2002. Amanda recalls seeing Michelle for the first time limp in front of a TV in an upstairs room. For over a decade, Michelle was bound by extension chords, gagged with a sock, and raped multiple times a day by Ariel Castro.
4) Michelle suffered the most injuries of the three women. Michelle was given two days to live as a result of the condition she had been found in. However, she powered through and defied all the odds. Following arduous medical procedures and healing processes, Michelle went on to create her “chosen family” and married her husband Miguel Rodriguez.
5) She bravely spoke at Ariel Castro’s sentencing. Along with Amanda and Gina, Michelle faced her capture with a scathing message. “You took 11 years of my life away and I have got it back,” she said at Castro’s sentencing. “I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning. I will overcome all this that happened, but you will face hell for eternity. From this moment on, I will not let you define me or affect who I am.”
The 20/20 special on the three incredible women premiere Jan. 3 at 9 pm on ABC.