real life

Cleveland victim: I stayed alive for my son

She was held hostage in a filthy Cleveland basement for 10 years, now Michelle Knight has revealed the only thing that kept her alive was the hope she’d see her son again.

Michelle was 20 years old and the mother to a toddler son, Joey, when she was abducted by Ariel Castro in 2002. Joey had been removed from her care and placed with a foster family just before she was snatched. She was searching for the office of her social worker to discuss getting her son back on that fateful day.

The young woman got lost and went into a store to ask for directions. Police testified at Castro's court case that he stepped forward and offered to take her there. On the way, he stopped at his house and asked if she would like to come inside and pick out a puppy to take to her son.

What followed was a decade of unimaginable horror. Her brother Freddie Knight has previously revealed that she made a notebook filled with drawings for her son while captive. Freddie also said one aim since being released is to get her Joey back. It's a battle she is still fighting

Michelle was later joined by two other kidnap victims in the house of horror, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus. The three women finally escaped in May, with the aid of a passerby.

And now Michelle has given a two-part interview to Dr Phil McGraw airing on his show today and tomorrow in the US.

“She did hold on to hope,” Dr. Phil told TODAY. “She had one beacon ahead of her, and that was her 2-and-a-half-year-old son. She said, ‘I have to live for him. And I’m fighting to stay alive for him.’”

Castro routinely beat and raped Michelle, leading her to suffer multiple miscarriages during her captivity.

“I was tied up like a fish, an ornament on the wall,” she told Dr Phil.

“You have to recall that for almost a year, it was just the two of them,” Dr. Phil told TODAY. “And there were times that she would be left alone for a few days. And when I say left alone, I mean no food, no water, no toilet…

“She stays in this room for a period of time. And then, when she is taken down, it was like her hands and feet wouldn't work. She had been hanging for days, you know — no circulation. She still has nerve damage in her hands and feet.”

Castro, 52, was sentenced to life without parole plus 1,000 years in prison, but was found dead in his cell just a month later.

Last month, Michelle appeared in a youTube video singing Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On in honour of her son at Cleveland's Boo-You-Bash event on October 12.

The mum grew emotional towards the end of the song and had to be comforted after breaking down in tears. 

See the moving video below:

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