May 13, 2013 in Nation/World

Kidnapped women plead for privacy

Cleveland trio will rebuff media until trial complete
Matt Pearce Los Angeles Times
 
Associated Press photo

A sign rests in front of a home Saturday in Cleveland.
(Full-size photo)

Three Cleveland women rescued after they were abducted and held captive about a decade thanked the public Sunday and asked for privacy.

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight issued statements that an attorney read.

“Thank you so much for everything you’re doing and continue to do,” Berry said. “I am so happy to be home with my family.”

“I’m so happy to be home and want to thank everybody for all your prayers,” DeJesus said. “I just want time now to be with my family.”

“Thank you to everyone for your support and good wishes,” said Knight, who was imprisoned the longest – 11 years. “I am healthy, happy and safe and will reach out to family, friends and supporters in good time.”

Attorney Jim Wooley read the statements on behalf of the women, urging the public and news media to respect their privacy. He said they would give no interviews to news outlets while the criminal case against their accused kidnapper, Ariel Castro, 52, was active, given that they were both alleged victims and witnesses.

Castro is in custody in lieu of $8 million bail on four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. The fourth kidnapping count is for a daughter born to Berry during her captivity. Police say DNA shows that Castro fathered the child.

Also Sunday, Ariel Castro’s brothers, Pedro and Onil Castro, told CNN they had received death threats and become collateral damage in the case against their brother. Initially, all three were suspects, but police cleared Pedro and Onil.

“It’s going to haunt me down because people going to think, yeah, Pedro got something to do with this – and Pedro don’t have nothing to do with this,” Pedro Castro, 54, told CNN in an interview from an undisclosed location outside Cleveland. “If I knew, I would have reported it, brother or no brother.”

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