Michelle Knight made headlines in 2013 when she escaped being held captive for 11 years. Michelle, along with two other women, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, were abducted by Ariel Castro and suffered years of physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse. Amanda and her six-year-old daughter, who was fathered by Castro, escaped from the house which had become her prison since she was abducted in 2003. Amanda noticed when Castro left that day, he failed to lock “the big inside door.” Although the outer mesh door was bolted, she pounded on it when she saw neighbors outside. Two men rushed to help Amanda, who explained quickly who she was and what had happened. The police quickly arrived to rescue both Michelle and Gina and Castro was arrested a few hours later.
Michelle was the first, and oldest, woman to be abducted. She knew Castro’s daughter, so when he offered to give her a ride on August 23, 2002, she accepted. Instead of taking Michelle to her desired destination, he took her to his house and chained her up.
Although all three women are doing well five years after their rescue, Michelle has been the most outspoken about what the women endured, but also about her journey of healing. Michelle says that while being held captive, Castro impregnated her “at least five times,” but that Castro caused great bodily harm to her and she miscarried each time she was pregnant.
Castro appeared in court on May 8, 2013, and was charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. Castro pleaded guilty to 937 criminal counts of rape, kidnapping, and aggravated murder as part of a plea bargain. He was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years in prison without the possibility of parole but took his own life in prison one month into his sentence.
Michelle has used the pain she lived with as strength to become an advocate. She wrote her first book, a New York Times Bestselling memoir called Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed a year after her escape. She wrote in the book about her life before she was abducted and how she used it as a coping mechanism while imprisoned for so many years.
Michelle’s second book, entitled Life After Darkness: Finding Healing and Happiness After the Cleveland Kidnappings is set to be released on May 1. Currently, she is on a press tour of sorts speaking about the upcoming book and about her life now.
On an April 24th episode of Dr. Phil, Michelle joins the talk show host in discussing her book, her life, and how she was able to find trust, happiness, and love. That’s right – Michelle announced to Dr. Phil that she is now married to a man named Miguel!
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