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One of three Cleveland kidnapping victims says she is 'saddened' by captor's suicide

Michelle Knight, who spent more than a decade held captive in Cleveland, says her life is now "awesome."
By Frances Burns   |   May 5, 2014 at 1:44 PM   |   Comments

http://cdnph.upi.com/sv/em/i/UPI-3761399309089/2014/1/13681118366458/One-of-three-Cleveland-kidnapping-victims-says-she-is-saddened-by-captors-suicide.jpg
NEW YORK, May 5 (UPI) -- One of the three women held captive for more than a decade in a Cleveland home said Monday she has forgiven Ariel Castro and was "saddened" by his suicide.

Michelle Knight, in an interview with NBC's "Today," said that after a year of freedom she is enjoying an "awesome life." Knight and two other women escaped on May 6, 2013.

Castro kidnapped Knight, then 21, in August 2002. In April 2003, he abducted Amanda Berry, who was about to turn 17, and a year later Gina DeJesus, 14.

Castro died in an apparent suicide in September, a month after he pleaded guilty to 937 counts that included kidnapping, rape and aggravated murder. The murder charge involved beating one of the women to induce an abortion.

“I was saddened by it but also confused at the same time," Knight said of Castro's death. "Like why would he hurt his children like that? Why would he leave them?” she said. “He was a human being, and every human being needs to be loved, even though they did something wrong.”

When Castro pleaded guilty, Knight told him he would spend "eternity in hell" and that he stole 11 years of her life. Now, she says she has forgiven him.

“If I did something wrong, even if it was a small thing, I would want somebody to forgive me, so I can forgive him for what he done wrong because that’s the way of life,” she said.

Knight said she gets a lot of joy out of small things: “Being able to wake up in the morning, make a cup of coffee and sit there -- watch TV, listen to music and just look at the beautiful sky.”

She has legally changed her name to Lillian Rose Lee and uses the name Lily to mark her new life. She said she seldom sees the two other women she spent so much time locked up with.

“Right now, we’re all healing in our own way. Sometimes relationships, including friendships, don’t last that long,” she said. “We were just in each other’s life for a short while in time and maybe, just maybe, we’ll get back together.”

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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