Raid on Ariel Castro's home caught on video
RAW VIDEO: Police raid the home of Ariel Castro in Cleveland, Ohio where at least three women were held captive for more than a decade.PT0M28S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2jj1g 620 349 May 14, 2013
More than a week after being freed from suspected kidnapper Ariel Castro’s Cleveland house, victim Michelle Knight’s whereabouts remains unknown.
Knight, 30, has not yet been reunited with her family, and has rebuffed attempts by her mother and grandmother to see her.
I am healthy, happy and safe and will reach out to family, friends and supporters in good time.
Her grandmother, Deborah Knight, told Reuters: ''No, we haven't (seen her) - on her request. She does not want to be seen by family.''
'Doesn't want to see us' ... Michelle Knight's grandmother, Deborah Knight, is comforted by a neighbour. Michelle is yet to be reunited with her family. Photo: Reuters
However, one of Michelle's two brothers, Freddie Knight, did go to the hospital and visited with his sister immediately after the three women were found.
"Her skin was white as a ghost," said Freddie Knight. "She told me she was excited to start a new life."
A source close to the police investigation said only: she "is in a safe place and very comfortable".
Michelle Knight ... She was beaten so badly, she lost her hearing and needs facial reconstruction surgery, her grandmother has said. Photo: Supplied
Knight, who was abducted in 2002, was held at the same Cleveland house as Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry, until they were freed with the help of a neighbour on May 6. Over nearly a decade, the women were allegedly raped, beaten and tied up in a case that has stunned the public and raised questions about the police’s handling of the matter.
Castro, 52, has been charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape, including allegedly fathering a child with Berry.
Both DeJesus and Berry, while avoiding the media, were returned to their families with great fanfare late last week. Knight, however, has kept a much lower profile.
Details suggest she is not on close terms with her immediate family. Knight's name, for example, was removed from an FBI missing person's database in 2003 because police couldn't find a family member to confirm she was "still missing", CNN reported. However, her case remained active, with a police search occurring as recently as November 2012.
Knight was a 20-year-old single mother when she vanished after losing a custody battle with child welfare authorities over her son, who was about three or four years old, Deborah Knight said.
"They took him and she went out and took off and never came back," she said, noting the family believed she had just run away.
Details have also surfaced about her traumatic life before she was kidnapped. As a high school student, Knight had been raped by several classmates, became pregnant and left school, a family member told the New York Daily News.
Knight was the longest held of the three women in the house and may need facial reconstruction surgery after years of severe beatings, US media reported. Her grandmother was quoted as saying she had also lost hearing in one ear.
She was discharged from Cleveland's MetroHealth Medical Centre on Friday but her family had to appeal to the police for information on her location.
The hospital had said Knight had been ‘‘in good spirits and would like the community to know that she is extremely grateful for the outpouring of flowers and gifts.’’
Through attorney Jim Wooley, who is said to be representing all three women, Knight asked for ''time, space and privacy'' in the wake of her ordeal.
''Thank you to everyone for your support and good wishes. I am healthy, happy and safe and will reach out to family, friends and supporters in good time,'' she was quoted as saying.
Fairfax Media, with Reuters and AFP