(CLEVELAND) — Michelle Knight, the kidnap survivor who defiantly confronted her tormentor in court, returned Friday to the Cleveland house where she was held captive for 11 years.
Knight, 32, showed up on Seymour Street at about 10:45 a.m. in a dark minivan.
Altagracia Tejeda said Knight came straight to her house, which is directly across the street from the home where Ariel Castro kept her a sex slave, often chained and battered, for more than a decade. When Knight and the other two captives, Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry, escaped in May they ran to Tejeda’s house.
Knight posed for a photograph with Tejeda and thanked her for helping them during their bolt to freedom.
Knight’s former prison, Castro’s home at 2207 Seymour Ave., has a cyclone fence around it, the windows are boarded up and a police officer is stationed outside the building. The city plans to demolish it.
The officer opened the gate and accompanied Knight as she viewed the house and walked around the outside, Tejeda said.
Catherine Adames told ABC News affiliate WEWS that Knight was “friendly, cute and I noticed her remarkable strength as a person who has been through so, so much.”
Adames said Knight told her she hopes a park with a statue of an angel replaces the Seymour Avenue house when it’s torn down.
Knight then thanked a few other neighbors before leaving, Tejeda said.
The visit came one day after Knight appeared in court to tell Castro, “You took 11 years of my life away and I have got it back. As for the 11 years in hell, now your hell is just beginning.” She was the only one of Castro’s victims to appear in court.
Castro was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years.
Knight was Castro’s first victim and was held the longest. She also appears to have suffered the most from Castro. He impregnated her several times and then would force her to miscarry by starving her for weeks, punching her in the stomach, stomping her and once even threw her down the stairs.
Knight, who had a 2 1/2-year-old son when Castro abducted her in 2002, said she cried every night she was in captivity.
“I knew nobody cared about me. He told me that my family didn’t care,” she said. “Christmas was the most traumatic day because I never got to spend it with my son.”
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