Longest held Ohio captive Michelle Knight is released from hospital

Saturday 11 May 2013 00.04
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Three women and a child were rescued from the house this week
Three women and a child were rescued from the house this week
Ariel Castro could face the death penalty arising from potential murder charges
Ariel Castro could face the death penalty arising from potential murder charges
Amanda Berry, right, hugs her sister after being reunited
Amanda Berry, right, hugs her sister after being reunited
Gina DeJesus gives a thumbs up after arriving home with family members
Gina DeJesus gives a thumbs up after arriving home with family members

Michelle Knight, freed earlier this week as the longest held of four captives in a dungeon-like Cleveland house, has been discharged from hospital and has gone into seclusion.

Two other women held with Ms Knight - Amanda Berry, 27, and Gina DeJesus, 23, along with a 6-year-old girl - left the hospital earlier this week and have been reunited with their families.

Ms Knight, 32, who is estranged from some of her family members according to her grandmother, was released this afternoon from MetroHealth Medical Center, which issued a plea to respect her privacy.

Before her release, Ms Knight issued a statement saying she is in good spirits and grateful for the outpouring of flowers and gifts she has received.

Interviews with Ms Knight's relatives have weaved a strained family portrait.

During her hospital stay, Ms Knight largely shunned visits from her family, some of whom thought she was a runaway when she vanished.

One of Michelle's two brothers, Freddie Knight, did go to the hospital and visited his sister immediately after the three women were found.

Mr Knight said Michelle showed him some of her drawings during his visit at the hospital.

He was not sure if they were made during her hospital stay or during her captivity.

He said Michelle wants to try to become a singer and that he wants to help her out. "I'm going to be there for my sister and protect her," Mr Knight said.

The brother has since spoken to Michelle once by phone but said he would leave her alone at the request of the hospital.

Michelle Knight was a 20-year-old single mother when she vanished in 2002.

She had lost a custody battle with child welfare authorities over her son, who was about 3 or 4-years-old.

Ms Knight told authorities that Castro starved her and repeatedly punched her in the stomach, resulting in five miscarriages.

DNA tests show Castro is father of Amanda Berry's child

Earlier, the Ohio attorney general said that DNA tests showed Cleveland kidnapping and rape suspect Ariel Castro is the father of the six-year-old born in the Ohio house.

Attorney General Mike DeWine said: "Forensic scientists worked throughout the night to confirm that Mr Castro is the father of the six-year-old girl born in captivity to one of the kidnapping victims."

He added that the tests also found Mr Castro's DNA did not match any other Ohio cases.

Although the FBI is still checking the sample against national cases.

Ohio prosecutor vows to seek murder charges

An Ohio prosecutor has vowed to seek murder charges that could carry the death penalty against the former Cleveland school bus driver.

Mr Castro is accused of kidnapping and raping three young women who were held for a decade as captives in his house.

The murder charges would stem from forced miscarriages that police say were suffered by one of the women.

Mr Castro was arrested on Monday shortly after Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were rescued.

Their imprisonment ended when neighbours, alerted by cries for help, broke through a locked door of Mr Castro's house and freed 27-year-old Ms Berry.

Freed along with her were her six-year-old daughter, conceived and born during her confinement, Ms DeJesus and Ms Knight.

Ms Berry disappeared the day before her 17th birthday in 2003 on her way home from work at a fast-food restaurant.

Ms DeJesus, 23, vanished at age 14 after school, and Ms Knight, 32, was 20 when she went missing in 2002.

All three told police they were abducted by Mr Castro when they accepted offers of a ride from him in the same West Side Cleveland neighbourhood where they were found years later.

Mr Castro, 52, made his first court appearance yesterday to face three counts of rape and four counts of kidnapping.

He was ordered to remain in custody on an $8m (€6m) bond.

Mr Castro's court-appointed lawyer, Kathleen DeMetz, said her client would be placed on suicide watch in prison and was expected to be held in isolation.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty, who has jurisdiction over all felony cases for Cleveland, said he intends to expand the charges once the case is formally transferred to his office.

Under Ohio law, the crime of aggravated murder includes the unlawful termination of a pregnancy and is a capital offence.

Keywords: ohio, cleveland