Cleveland kidnapping victims plead for privacy
Published Sunday, May 12, 2013 10:20AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, May 12, 2013 1:33PM EDT
Three women who were rescued from a Cleveland home after disappearing 10 years ago say they are grateful for the support of their families and communities and are asking for privacy while they continue to heal.
Attorney and spokesperson Jim Wooley read a statement on behalf of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight on Sunday morning.
In the statement, the women thanked law enforcement officials for all their “tireless efforts.”
Berry said: "Thank you so much for everything you're doing and continue to do. I am so happy to be home with my family."
DeJesus said: “I'm so happy to be home and want to thank everybody for all your prayers. I just want time now to be with my family."
And Knight 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."
Wooley said that despite numerous media requests, the women will not be doing any interviews because their case is part of a pending criminal investigation.
“It is not in the best interests … for Ms. Berry, Ms. DeJesus and Ms. Knight to be making statements to the media while that proceeding is pending,” he said.
He added that the women need space while they continue to reconnect with their families.
“You all care greatly about their well-being, so please respect this most basic request. Give them the time, the space and the privacy so that they can continue to get stronger,” he said, adding that there may be a time in the future when the women will want to share their stories.
Wooley said that since the women were rescued there have been multiple generous offers of support, of which the women were “very appreciative.” He encouraged anyone interested in providing support to the women work with legitimate groups such as the Cleveland Courage Fund, which is accepting donations to help the victims.
The three women were rescued last week after Berry managed to escape from a home where she and the two other women had been held captive. A six-year-old girl, who was later confirmed to be Berry’s daughter, was also rescued from the house.
Berry disappeared in 2003 when she was 16. DeJesus disappeared in 2004 when she was 14 and Knight disappeared in 2002 when she was 20.
Brothers of accused say they’ve had death threats
Ariel Castro, the man accused of kidnapping the three women, was arrested by officials last week. Castro, 52, has been charged with multiple counts of kidnapping and rape. He remains in a U.S. prison on an $8-million bond.
Castro’s brothers, Onil and Pedro, were also arrested last week in connection with the case, but were released on Thursday after investigators determined that there was no evidence against them.
The brothers say they fear people still believe they had something to do with the women’s disappearance.
The two told CNN that they’ve received death threats even though there are no charges against them.
Pedro Castro said he would have reported Ariel Castro, if he had known he was involved in the disappearance of the three women.
With files from The Associated Press