Ohio kidnapping: Freed women ask for privacy to heal

Ariel Castro fathered a child with one of the three women. Picture: AP
Ariel Castro fathered a child with one of the three women. Picture: AP
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THREE women rescued from a house in Ohio a decade after they disappeared yesterday pleaded for privacy so they could heal and reconnect with their families.

A lawyer for the women also said they are grateful for the support of family, law enforcement and the community.

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight remain in seclusion and released their first statements since they were found on 6 May after Ms Berry escaped and called police.

Ariel Castro is suspected of imprisoning the women inside his Cleveland house for nine years or more, allowing them outside only a few moments, and raping them. A DNA test also confirmed that Castro fathered a six-year-old girl who Ms Berry gave birth to in the house. The girl escaped from the house with Ms Berry. 
Castro, 52, is being held on bail of $8 million (£5.2m). The former school bus driver was charged with four counts of kidnapping and three of rape. The women, now in their twenties and thirties, vanished between 2002 and 2004. At the time, they were aged 14, 16 and 20.

Lawyer Jim Wooley read statements attributed to all three.

Ms Knight, the first to disappear and the last of the three released from hospital, said: “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.”

Ms Berry added: “Thank you so much for everything you’re doing. I am so happy to be home with my family.”

And Ms DeJesus, the youngest, said: “I want to thank everybody for all your prayers. I just want time now to be with my family.”