Michelle Knight has finally been released from hospital and is staying at the home of fellow captive Gina DeJesus after she refused to see her mother.
Michelle Knight, 32, became the third and final victim to leave the hospital where she was being treated for the physical and mental abuse she endured over ten years allegedly at the hands of Ariel Castro in Cleveland, who is accused of routinely beating and raping his three victims.
The hospital said Michelle Knight is in good spirits and grateful for the fund created to aid the victims.
Michelle Knight has refused to see her mother Barbara, choosing instead to stay with her fellow captive Gina DeJesus.
A family friend who talked to Nancy DeJesus said the DeJesus family is taking Michelle Knight in because she says Gina is her only family left in Cleveland.
The hospital statement said: “Michelle Knight is in good spirits and would like the community to know that she is extremely grateful for the outpouring of flowers and gifts.
“She is especially thankful for the Cleveland Courage Fund. She asks that everyone please continue to respect her privacy at this time.”
Michelle Knight’s mother is believed to have hired a lawyer in order to try and get access to her daughter.
Attorney Jay Milano told WKYC: “Barbara just wants to be a part of the healing process.”
Barbara Knight flew in from Florida on Tuesday night after learning about her daughter’s rescue on the news and claimed she never gave up hope Michelle was still alive.
She said she wanted to bring her back to Naples with her once she was released from hospital.
Michelle Knight was the first of the three victims to be abducted. She was last seen at a cousin’s house near West 106th Street and Lorain Avenue in Cleveland in 2002.
But her disappearance did not receive much publicity as she was classed as a runaway and her name was taken off the missing person’s database just 15 months later.
Michelle Knight’s twin brother yesterday recalled his shock at seeing her alive for the first time in more than a decade.
“When I saw her, she was white as a ghost,” Freddie Knight, 32, told The New York Post.
“But she told me, <<Come over here and give me a hug. It’s been ages!>>.
“She was happy to see me. It was emotional. She even recognized me – even though it had been 11 years.”
Freddie Knight also said he was afraid that his sister would become the “forgotten kidnap victim” as so much more attention was placed on Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus.
He also said that she would not have a home to go to when she was released from hospital – unlike the other two victims.
Freddie Knight himself, who says he was kicked out of his mother’s house 18 years ago when he was just 14, didn’t even know his sister was gone until he saw the news on TV.
He was among the first of her family members to see her after her rescue.
“She’s really weak. She’s just trying to cope with everything right now.
“She didn’t talk much. When she’s ready, she will tell me but I don’t want to bring it up until then. She’s really traumatized right now.”
Barbara Knight has contended all week that police did not do enough to try and find her daughter.
The police department’s policy on investigating missing adults at the time states that an officer must go and see if a missing person has been found, then inform the FBI within two hours so the person can be removed from the National Crime Information Center database.