A family friend of one of the Cleveland victims has revealed that Michelle Knight, the first of three women to be kidnapped off the street who suffered more than a decade of abuse in Ariel Castro’s house of horrors, was subjected to numerous beatings and treated like “a punching bag”.
Michelle Knight, now 32, vanished in August 2002, and was not seen again until earlier this month when she emerged from a dilapidated house on Seymour Avenue with Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus.
The owner of the home, 52-year-old Ariel Castro, faces kidnapping and rape charges. He is accused of chaining up all three women in the home and raping them.
A family friend of one of the victims told CNN that Michelle Knight was often hit with hand weights and other objects and treated like a “punching bag” for 11 years.
Her relatives say that she is deaf in one ear, and may need facial reconstruction surgery. She was released from a hospital on Friday.
Michelle Knight stayed in the hospital for several days after the other two women left.
She told CNN in a statement: “I am healthy, happy and safe and will reach out to family, friends and supporters in good time.”
Michelle Knight told police that her alleged captor repeatedly raped her and caused her to miscarry at least five times over the years by starving her and punching her in the stomach.
Police sources told the National Enquirer that Ariel Castro had no interest in having children with Michelle Knight, because she was only 4-foot-7 and he believed her to be “mentally disabled”.
The magazine’s source added that Ariel Castro was grooming his 6-year-old daughter with Amanda, Jocelyn, as another sex slave because the other captives “were getting to old for him”.
Police had not been looking for Michelle Knight when she was found in Ariel Castro’s house.
Michelle Knight disappeared in 2002 at age 21. Her mother concluded she might have run away from home because she was angry about the state taking away her child.
Police dropped the case when they couldn’t reach her mother.