Michelle Knight, one of the three girls kidnapped by Ariel Castro and rescued nearly a year ago after being held captive for more than a decade, told the “Today” show on Monday that she was able to forgive Castro and was saddened to learn that he killed himself in prison last year.
Knight, who is now 33 and has changed her name to Lily, because it is her favorite flower and symbolizes a new beginning, said she felt rage when she was imprisoned in Castro’s Cleveland home. Castro, who committed suicide in prison after pleading guilty to of kidnapping, rape, aggravated murder and other charges, kept Knight and two other women -- Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus -- locked in bedrooms in his home for years and continually raped and mentally abused them, according to prosecutors.
“There’s anger at points, at times, yes,” Knight told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie on Monday. “There’s also [been] suicide attempts, ‘cause you get to a point where you feel like it’s hopeless.”
Yet for all the torture she endured at the hands of Castro, Knight said she was able to forgive him for his crimes. Guthrie asked her how that was possible.
“If I did something wrong, even if it was a small thing, I would want somebody to forgive me, so I can forgive him for what he done wrong, because that’s the way of life,” she said.
Knight said she felt sad when she learned Castro had committed suicide by hanging himself in his prison cell with bed sheets. But she said her anger turned into confusion when Castro took his own life.
“I was saddened about it, but also confused at the same time,” she said. “Like, why would he hurt his children like that? Why would he leave them? He was a human being, and every human being needs to be loved, even though they did something wrong.”
Knight said she was able to survive as Castro’s captive for 11 years because she turned to her son Joey for strength. Her son is now 14 years old, but he was given up for adoption while Knight was missing.
“The love of my son helped me keep the faith that I had,” she said. She added that she hopes to see Joey again someday, but for now, his adoptive parents have decided he’s too young to know everything about his mother’s ordeal.
Knight said she takes pleasures in simple things. When asked by Guthrie what was the best part of living freely, Knight said, “Being able to wake up in the morning, make a cup of coffee and sit there. Watch TV, listen to music and just look at the beautiful sky.”
Knight published a memoir, “Finding Me,” which delves into her 11-year kidnapping. The book comes out Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of her rescue. Knight said she’s taken on other projects since escaping Castro’s wrath and captivity.
“I would want everybody to know I’m doing just fine and everything is really exciting right now,’ she said. “I’m doing singing. I’m also training to be a boxer and I just recorded my first song, and it’s awesome -- an awesome life right now.”