In their first joint public address, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight — the three women held captive in the home of alleged Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro for a decade and were released on May 6 — have released a video thanking the public for their outpouring of support and generosity.
Berry, 27, who went missing in 2003, opens the video. "I'm getting stronger each day," she says. "I ask that everyone continue to respect our privacy and give us time to have a normal life." Berry gave birth to Castro's child, now 6-years-old, while in captivity; with the assistance of neighbors Berry was the first to escape his home and bring help to the others.
DeJesus, 23, was abducted in 2004. She appears in the video with her parents and issues a brief thanks, and her mother delivers a message for anyone else who's had a loved one go missing: "Count on your neighbors."
It's Knight, 32, kidnapped in 2003, who speaks the longest. Like the other women, she's smiling and strong — but she's got some extra spark to her. "I may have been through hell and back, but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face and my head held high and my feet on the ground," she asserts. "I will not let the situation define who I am."