Skip to main content

Mystery surrounds freed Cleveland captive

By Pamela Brown and Mariano Castillo, CNN
updated 2:53 AM EDT, Mon May 13, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The rescued women will issue a statement through their new PR firm
  • Two other victims have been reunited with families, but not Michelle Knight
  • A source says she is in a safe and comfortable place
  • Authorities are sealing areas that they have searched for evidence

Cleveland (CNN) -- Michelle Knight was rescued last week from more than 10 years in captivity, but her family still doesn't know exactly where she is.

There were joyous reunions for Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus after they were freed from the Cleveland home where police say Ariel Castro held them captive. But a level of mystery surrounds Michelle Knight, who was rescued along with the others, but who has apparently not been reunited with her family.

Even as of Friday night, Knight hadn't spoken yet with her mother, Barbara, a family spokesperson said. In fact, Knight's family had no idea where she was and had asked police for information on her whereabouts.

Castro, a 52-year-old bus driver and musician, faces charges of rape and kidnapping in connection with the prolonged captivity of the women.

Ohio victims detail life in captivity
Source: Knight delivered Berry's child
Ariel Castro previously accused of abuse
Amanda Berry speaks in a video released on YouTube on Monday, July 8, thanking people for support and privacy. Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight escaped from a Cleveland home on May 6 after being held captive for nearly a decade. Amanda Berry speaks in a video released on YouTube on Monday, July 8, thanking people for support and privacy. Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight escaped from a Cleveland home on May 6 after being held captive for nearly a decade.
Kidnapped teens found decade later
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: Kidnapped teens rescued Photos: Kidnapped teens rescued

What little is known about Knight's whereabouts comes from a source close to the investigation, who told CNN that Knight "is in a safe place and very comfortable." The source did not specify further.

There were reports that Knight was at the DeJesus home, and there was a lot of activity there Saturday morning, but Knight was not there.

Her grandmother, Deborah Knight, had gone to the same home on Friday because she'd also heard Knight might be there and "besides, Gina's parents here have been waiting to meet us."

Other questions surround Knight, whose disappearance generated far less publicity and attention than did those of Berry and DeJesus.

Cleveland police removed Knight's name from an FBI database of missing people in November 2003 -- 15 months after her family reported her missing -- police said. They did so after "failing to locate a parent, guardian or other reporting person to confirm that Ms. Knight was still missing."

Police said, though, that her missing person's case remained open and was checked on as recently as November 2012.

Cleveland police have been subject to intense criticism from some quarters over their handling of missing persons cases, but city officials have said they did everything they could to find the missing women.

Knight was discharged from Cleveland's MetroHealth Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Tina Shaerban-Arundel said Friday, hours after the hospital said in a Facebook posting that she was in "good spirits" and "extremely grateful" for the flowers, gifts and the support of the Cleveland Courage Fund. The latter is a vehicle for raising that helps nonprofit organizations provide services to the three women.

Berry and DeJesus were released days ago and are now staying with relatives.

The Cleveland public relations firm of Hennes Paynter Communication is representing all three women, said Barbara Paynter of that company. Paynter said that her firm of crisis management specialists is working pro bono after being "asked to help them out," joining a team of like-minded individuals that includes lawyers and counselors.

The rescued women, none of whom have spoken publicly since being freed, are set to issue a full statement at 10 a.m. Sunday, according to Paynter.

According to initial police report, the women told investigators that they were chained in the basement of the home, but later moved upstairs to rooms on the second floor. They were allowed out of the home only twice, and then just briefly, according to the document.

Castro would frequently test the women by pretending to leave and then discipline any of them if they had moved, according to a law enforcement source.

Meanwhile, the FBI is continuing the process of sealing off and boarding up the areas near the home of the alleged captor that they have checked for evidence.

On Saturday morning they were boarding up and closing off an abandoned house to the right of Castro's home. The abandoned house had been searched Thursday, and authorities were seen removing evidence from that home.

The neighbors continued to express their shock to learn that three girls were prisoners so near to their own homes. No one imagined that Castro could have been living a double life.

"This dude was cool, I'm telling you," Charles Ramsey, a neighbor hailed as a hero for helping Amanda Berry escape, told radio host Rock Newman of WE-ACT Radio on Saturday.

"This type of cat you'd put in your car ... just because you want someone to talk to," Ramsey said. "You will ride him around and waste gas with this dude."

CNN's Pamela Brown reported this story from Cleveland; Mariano Castillo wrote it in Atlanta. CNN's Rich Phillips, Susan Candiotti, Greg Botelho and Michael Pearson contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Ohio women found
updated 6:36 PM EDT, Wed September 4, 2013
Ariel Castro who was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years for kidnapping, raping and holding captive three women was found hanging in his prison cell, authorities said told CNN affiliate WOIO.
updated 12:32 PM EDT, Thu August 1, 2013
Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus weren't in the courtroom. But their diaries gave authorities a window into the horror they suffered for a decade.
updated 1:37 PM EDT, Sun August 4, 2013
They were living in hell, and Ariel Castro did all he could to make sure they'd never escape it.
updated 6:38 AM EDT, Mon August 5, 2013
Michelle Knight, one of three women kidnapped by Ariel Castro, returned Friday to the Cleveland house where she was chained up and tormented for 11 years, a neighbor said.
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Thu August 1, 2013
When her chance came, kidnapping victim Michelle Knight lit into Ariel Castro, the man who held her captive and raped her in his Cleveland home for a decade.
updated 9:54 AM EDT, Fri August 2, 2013
The woman's voice wavered, just for a moment.
updated 9:56 AM EDT, Fri August 2, 2013
From the outside, the home at 2207 Seymour Avenue looked like most any other in Cleveland's Westside neighborhood.
updated 10:06 AM EDT, Tue July 9, 2013
For the first time since their rescue, the world is hearing directly from the three women who were held captive in Cleveland for a decade.
updated 3:57 AM EDT, Fri August 2, 2013
For his victims, Thursday was roughly a decade in coming.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Tue July 30, 2013
In his first television interview, Ariel Castro's son said that his dad belongs in prison for the rest of his life and he doesn't plan on ever visiting him.
updated 8:25 PM EDT, Thu May 9, 2013
In retrospect, there were plenty of signs that something was wrong.
updated 1:10 PM EDT, Thu August 1, 2013
For the first time, take a look inside the Cleveland house where three women were held captive for a decade.
updated 7:50 AM EDT, Thu August 1, 2013
When an judge denied a request for Castro to visit the 6-year-old girl he fathered with one of the women he kidnapped and raped, the reason seemed pretty clear.
updated 6:55 AM EDT, Mon May 13, 2013
How the macabre enslavement of two girls and a woman began has deeply disturbed a nation, if not the world.
updated 11:37 AM EDT, Sun May 19, 2013
When the police arrived at Castro's house, it was almost peaceful. As if nobody else was there. And then they heard the sound of scurrying feet upstairs.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Mon May 13, 2013
Ariel Castro's brothers say he's "a monster" who should rot in jail and they "want the world to know" they had no idea their brother was holding women captive.
updated 8:00 AM EDT, Thu August 1, 2013
Two were just teenagers when they were kidnapped, but the three women have finally been found a decade later.
updated 5:33 AM EDT, Wed May 8, 2013
When Amanda Berry screamed for help through a crack in the front door of the house where she was being held, she set in motion an end to roughly a decade of captivity for herself and two other women.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Fri May 10, 2013
His Cleveland neighbors are trying to come with grips with the two personas -- the first, they thought they knew, the other, the one that authorities describe.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT