(CLEVELAND) — Michelle Knight, the woman who is believed to have suffered the most abuse at the hands of kidnapper Ariel Castro, has become a “butterfly,” she said in a statement Thursday.
Knight, 32, not only issued a statement of gratitude, but it is believed she will be the only one of Castro’s three victims to appear in court Thursday to personally read her impact statement before her tormentor is sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years.
It was also revealed that someone used Knight’s identity during her captivity to illegally cash thousands of dollars in Social Security checks.
Her resolve in the wake of a decade of captivity, torture, sexual and physical abuse is seen in a statement thanking the Cleveland police for rescuing her and helping her since her release from Castro’s dungeons.
“You don’t know how much I appreciate all your time and work collecting cards and gifts from people for me and the other girls. I am overwhelmed by the amount of thoughts, love and prayers expressed by complete strangers. It is comforting. Life is tough, but I’m tougher!” she wrote in a statement posted on the Cleveland PD’s website.
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, she became a butterfly,” she wrote.
Knight was 22 when she was snatched off the street by Castro. She was held the longest along with Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry, and appeared to bear the brunt of his wrath.
In police affidavits released after his arrest, Knight told police that she became pregnant by Castro several times and each time he forced her to abort by starving her for weeks and then punching her in the stomach.
Castro faced the possibility of the death penalty for the murder of her fetus.
“I may have been through hell and back, but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face and with my head held high and my feet firmly on the ground,” Knight said in an earlier video statement.
Documents released Wednesday by prosecutors revealed that there is a federal probe into thousands of dollars in Social Security checks cashed in Knight’s name while she was a hostage. The Social Security checks are believed to be Supplemental Security income provided for adults and children with low income and who have disabilities.
Knight was described by family members as having a mild disability and was the mother of a young son at the time of her disappearance.
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