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Michelle Knight’s triumph over captor Ariel Castro: ‘He doesn’t define who I am’

first_imgABC(NEW YORK) — Michelle Knight had known unimaginable hardship long before she was abducted in 2002 at the age of 21, then held captive and repeatedly raped and tortured for nearly 11 years by Ariel Castro, a school bus driver and local musician.She’d fought to overcome what she says was the trauma of sexual abuse by a male relative, living on the streets and later losing custody of her son. She survived still when she escaped Castro’s grip in 2013 and was told by doctors that she had only days to live. She continued fighting by facing her perpetrator in court. And, with time, she found love and created a new family to surround her. “You can overcome all obstacles that stand in your way,” Knight shared in an interview with ABC News. “Don’t let the darkness control your light in your life.”Knight and the two other women who were kidnapped by Castro as teens, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, shared their stories of survival with 20/20.Watch the full story on “20/20” Friday, Jan. 3, at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. Knight said she loved growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, but hated her life at home. “We didn’t have a couch to sit on. We didn’t have a stove,” she said. “Just to give us a hot warm meal, I had to cook on a space heater. It takes four hours for a hot dog to cook.” Knight said she was almost like a mother to her siblings. A brother, Edward Knight, told ABC News, “she has always been there to help us.” Knight described her life as “traumatic,” saying she suffered sexual and emotional abuse. “You name it, I went through it,” she said. “I got to the point where I said, ‘I’m more safer on the streets than I am living in my own home.’ So, I basically ran away.” She was only 14 at the time. “I didn’t really know where my next meal was going to come from or what was gonna happen next,” she said. “I lived in a garbage can. I took a blanket from somebody’s back porch. Cuddled up with it. … There was a bridge, where I can hear cars going past. The vibrations just, you know, helped me be calm.” She said she often sought refuge in a local Baptist church where she was given food, clothes and a place to bathe. “I [ended] up going there just because I heard beautiful music. And I was a little bit embarrassed because I didn’t smell too pretty,” she said. “I stood in the back and singing along with every hymn that they were singing.” A congregant saw her at the church one day and reported it to her father. He sent her back to school where she says she was bullied. She started seeing a boy from school, got pregnant and gave birth to her son Joey at 18. “I wanted to be the best mom. I wanted to be better than … my mom,” she said. “It was difficult because I didn’t have very much money.”In the spring of 2002, she said, her mother’s boyfriend got drunk and fractured Joey’s knee. Social services eventually put him in foster care. Knight was desperate to get her son back. On Aug. 23, 2002, she got lost on her way to a case management meeting and stopped at a store to ask for directions. “I was trying so desperately to get ahold of them. I tried to call them on a payphone. It didn’t work. So I felt like there’s no way I was gonna make it,” she said. Then a man offered to help her. She recognized him as the father of one of her friends. “He said, ‘I know where it’s at. I can take you straight to it. It’ll only take me … five minutes.’ And I’m like ‘OK. I’m gonna make it. This is gonna happen,’” she said. The man she trusted to help her was Ariel Castro.But instead of going to family court, he took her to his home, on the pretense of first picking his daughter and showing Michelle some puppies. But his daughter didn’t live with him, and there were no puppies. He ended up holding her captive in his house more than a decade. “He said, ‘You’re not gonna leave for a long time.’ And then he starts undressing himself,” she said. “I dropped to the floor begging him to let me go. Begging him, saying, ‘I need to get to my son. This can’t happen.’” “He ripped up my son’s picture right in front of me — the only picture I had — and said, ‘You will never see him.’ … That hurted so bad. The knife felt like it was going deeper and deeper into my chest,” she said. A decade of suffering trapped in Castro’s homeAt first, Knight was kept bound with an extension cord wrapped around her legs, arms and neck. He shoved a sock in her mouth to muffle her screams. Castro raped her multiple times a day and put on loud music to further mute her cries. “It was difficult. I had to go blank,” she said. “Any time he was doing anything to me, I had to put myself in a different place.”Even though Castro had Knight captive in his home, he still wasn’t satisfied. In April 2003, he kidnapped 16-year-old Amanda Berry as she was walking home from her job at Burger King. A year later, he abducted 14-year-old Gina DeJesus as she returned home from middle school. In each case, the girl got into his car because she knew him as her friend’s father. The disappearance of Berry and DeJesus alarmed the community, and their families were on the news constantly pleading for their return. But there was never any public mention of Knight, a fact she said Castro taunted her over “every single day.” “‘Your families don’t care about you. Ain’t you glad I took you?’” Knight remembered him telling her. “I felt like he hated me the most, because I was the one that stood my ground.” While Michelle’s family had initially filed a missing persons report with police, it was eventually presumed she had run away because she was an adult at the time of her disappearance. Cuyahoga County assistant prosecutor Anna Faraglia said Castro “was very abusive to Michelle ’cause Michelle spoke up the most.” Knight told authorities she got pregnant five times and each time, Castro used vicious and violent methods to end the pregnancy. “He’s the reason why I can’t have children now — and that’s the most suckiest feeling ever,” she said. “But he couldn’t break me.”On May 6, 2013, Knight’s life would change forever. Berry and her daughter, whom she’d given birth to while in captivity, were able to escape while Castro was out of the house. With the help of others in the neighborhood, Berry alerted authorities. “I hear noises in the hallway. ‘Police! Police!’ I pushed my head out,” Knight said. “I see a badge. … [I] ran up and jumped in their arms and said, ‘Never let me go!’” First responder Anthony Espada remembered, “I thought she was a child ’cause that’s, ’cause she was so tiny.” Knight had been held captive in Castro’s home for nearly 11 years. “It was just [an] amazing feeling,” Knight said. “The first thing that I did is I dropped to the ground. I didn’t care how dirty it was … I kissed that ground. I kissed that ground and thanked God that He helped us get out of there.” Recovery and building a new lifeIt didn’t take long before Castro was found driving nearby and was arrested. The women were taken to the hospital, where Knight was found to be in the worst condition of the three. “They couldn’t find out why I was bleeding, why I was having stomach issues. But they did different tests and they told me, ‘You only got two days to live,’” she said. “’It’s been too long and the antibiotics are not working on you.’” Still, she refused to be defeated. Knight remembered singing and dancing while receiving treatment. “I was trying to make the best of the life that I had left,” she said. “They put me on 14 different medications before I was actually better.”Castro told police that he treated the girls well and described the countless rapes he committed as “consensual.” He confirmed terminating Knight’s pregnancies but claimed it was a mutual decision. Castro pleaded guilty to 937 criminal counts of rape, kidnapping and aggravated murder and he was sentenced to life in prison without parole, plus a thousand years. “You took 11 years of my life away and I have got it back,” she said at Castro’s sentencing. “I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning. I will overcome all this that happened, but you will face hell for eternity. From this moment on, I will not let you define me or affect who I am.” “For as little as she is, she’s a big girl, man. I don’t know how she did it,” said Cleveland police officer Barbara Johnson. “I had to show him that he no longer has control over me,” Knight told 20/20. “That he doesn’t define who I am. I define who I am by everything I do in life.” Knight, Berry and DeJesus survived in Castro’s captivity together for a decade. But Castro only spent one month and one day in prison before killing himself. By then, Castro’s house had already been demolished. Knight watched as it was being torn down, handing out balloons to those in the neighborhood. “I wanted to show them that they’re not hated because they didn’t know,” Knight said. “That they are loved even though I was in a situation, who would know?”There was one other person for whom she showed compassion. “I chose to forgive [Castro], because I didn’t want the emotional chain of that situation,” Knight said. “I didn’t want it to hold me back or control my life anymore, so I had to break free.” At first, Knight didn’t have a support system to aid in her long recovery. She utilized equine therapy to help heal and over time created what she calls her “chosen family.” “I got my adopted dad, which his name is Jim [Taylor]. He’s such a sweetheart. He’s the one that showed me that men are not all the same,” she said.She met her husband, Miguel Rodriguez, who she says “is the love of my life … my other half. He showed me that life doesn’t have to be horrible and you don’t have to be alone.” “When I first came out of the house, I didn’t even know what love was. What a tender touch was. All I knew was abuse,” she said. She has since legally changed her name to Lily Rose Lee. “[I] wanted a new beginning to my new journey of life,” she said. And, she is now in the process of starting her own nonprofit called Lily’s Ray of Hope to support victims of child abuse, domestic violence and human trafficking. “Everybody in life that goes through a tragedy, that’s been in the dark for so long, needs to see the sunrise,” she said. “Just show the people that have harmed us that they don’t control us anymore.”Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Press release: Work starts on Northumberland flood defence

first_img It shows what a big impact Storm Desmond had on our county when improvement schemes are still ongoing more than two years after the event. This is another fine example of agencies working with local communities to find innovative solutions to improve their areas and prevent flooding events damaging their homes in the future. Innovative solutionNorthumberland County Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet member for Environment and Local Services, said: This is great news for local residents and should hopefully provide peace of mind and security for the future. I would also like to say a huge thanks to all the residents for their patience and understanding in this drawn out matter and for the selfless financial contributions they themselves have made towards the project. The start of this work marks the final step in what has been a long and difficult journey for local residents. I would like to thank them for their support and continued patience while we have worked together with Network Rail and others to find the best and most cost-effective solution at Tyne Green. They have used their initiative and all worked together to pool their grants which has allowed us to be able to build this flood bank. We hope this protection afforded by the new defence will now provide local residents with peace of mind when bad weather threatens in the future. check your postcode and find out if you are at risk of flooding sign-up for free flood warnings if you are at risk view and save the 3-point flood plan so you know how to ‘Prepare, Act, Survive’ in a floodcenter_img The Environment Agency is urging people to ‘Prepare, Act, Survive’ by visiting the Floods Destroy website and do three things to prepare for flooding. Work will start on Monday (11 June) on a £65,000 flood embankment which will protect homes in Hexham from flooding.Storm Desmond saw flooding to 15 properties at Tyne Green, Hexham, on 5 December 2015.Properties flooded as a result of water from the River Tyne flowing through an underpass beneath the Newcastle-Carlisle railway line near to Tyne Green Golf Course.The Environment Agency prioritises delivery of new and improved flood defences using government funding over a rolling six year programme, to schemes which provide the greatest benefits to protect properties from flooding.Due to the small number of properties that would benefit, against the cost of delivering a flood scheme at Tyne Green, the Environment Agency had been unable to deliver new flood defences in the area.Funded by residentsThe work is being uniquely funded by residents who have pooled individual grants made available to them following flooding over the winter period of 2015/16.The Environment Agency and Northumberland County Council worked closely with Tyne Green residents, Northumbrian Water and Network Rail to provide a creative solution.The work will take around three weeks to complete and will be marked by a celebration event with the local community later in the summer.The flood embankment, to be built by Breheny Civil Engineering, has been designed to protect against a flood event similar to that experienced by Tyne Green residents during Storm Desmond.Chris Hood, Project Manager for the Environment Agency, said: County Councillor for Hexham Central with Acomb Trevor Cessford added:last_img read more

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True story: How far will you go to serve your members?

first_img 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr We recently asked members of one of our credit unions to share their story with us. We wanted to know in what way the credit union had gone above and beyond to serve them? We received many great stories, and they continue to come in. Not only were the marketing gold, but sharing the stories with the staff at the credit union reinforced how appreciative members are when they give 110%.Though many stories were heartwarming, none showed the dedication of this particular credit union better than this story from a member:I sincerely apologize for placing you in the middle of a heated conversation without warning, when I was at the Finance Depart at the Auto Dealership. Originally, the car was valued at $22,500 (According to the Sticker Price), after almost walking away from the whole deal, they redesigned the offer to $20,500 plus LIC-Tax-and Doc Fees . . . I completely disagreed with that price, and told them that I was going to Test Drive a BMW I liked at another Dealership, and that car was priced at $19,000. When the sales guy asked me: “How much would you like to buy the car for?” I said $19,000 out the door! They came back at me with an offer of $19,250, and I took it!The Dealership gave me such a hard time when the finance discussions started:last_img read more

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Leeds residential: Where there’s muck …

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

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EPA violated personal privacy of farmers, ranchers

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest What was once a strongly held opinion in many farm circles is now an official ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The Environmental Protection Agency has violated the personal privacy of tens of thousands of farmers and ranchers, according to a unanimous ruling issued by the Court this month.The ruling in American Farm Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers Council vs. EPA concerned the federal agency’s 2013 release to three environmental groups of a vast compilation of spreadsheets containing personal information about farmers and ranchers who raise livestock and poultry in 29 states. The case also related to similar personal information from farmers and ranchers in seven additional states that had yet to be released. The information included the names of farmers, ranchers and sometimes other family members, home addresses, GPS coordinates, telephone numbers and emails. EPA claimed that it was required to disclose the information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).“This was an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy by a federal agency in violation of law,” said Ellen Steen, AFBF General Counsel. “The court’s decision is a vindication of the right of farm families to control their own personal information. Farmers and ranchers have a strong privacy interest in their personal information, including their home address, even when they live and work on the farm.”Farm families usually live on the farm and the court took note that EPA’s disclosures in this case could facilitate unwanted contact and harassment of farmers and ranchers by the FOIA requestors and others. According to Steen, “this case assures us that individuals still have a privacy interest in their personal information. The fact that government agencies may have that information and even store it on the Internet does not eliminate the individual’s privacy interest.”According to the court, “EPA’s release of the complete set of data on a silver platter, so to speak, basically hands to the requesters a comprehensive database of their own, whatever their motives might be.”“EPA now has to ‘recall’ all of the personal information it unlawfully released, but unfortunately that information has now been in the hands of the FOIA requestors for three years, and many feel that the damage is done,” Steen said. “AFBF will continue to work to ensure that personal information about farmers and ranchers is not disclosed by EPA.”last_img read more

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LOOK: Injured Gordon Hayward shoots free throws from chair

first_imgQC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort MOST READ John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding WATCH: ’Emotional’ Hayward recalls how his family felt after horrific injury View comments Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Lue unhappy with ’embarrassing’ Cavs LATEST STORIES Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion In an appearance in NBC Boston last week, Hayward revealed that the first thing he requested after his injury from head coach Brad Stevens was to be given a basketball.After bearing his heart out in an emotional interview, Hayward was also recorded working on his passing skills while again being seated on a chair.Meanwhile, Hayward has been ruled out for the rest of the 2017-2018 season.Despite his absence, the Celtics are currently the hottest team in the league right now, owning a 9-win streak en route to best record in the NBA. /raRELATED STORY:ADVERTISEMENT Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Read Next Boston Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge shared the inspiring image of his prized off-season recruit, who was “putting in work” from the free-throw line while wearing a walking boot.He’s putting in the work💪🏼@gordonhayward ☘️ pic.twitter.com/0d7YBvvRmZFEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout— Danny Ainge (@danielrainge) November 6, 2017 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA After suffering from a harrowing and traumatic ankle injury on NBA opening night, one wouldn’t blame Gordon Hayward if he decided to not set foot inside a basketball court for a while.But just four weeks after the incident, the extremely dedicated 27-year-old forward is back in the gym, working on his shooting form—albeit sitting from a chair in the dark.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMClast_img read more

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9 days agoChelsea invite Linfield teenager Charlie Allen for trials

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Chelsea invite Linfield teenager Charlie Allen for trialsby Paul Vegas9 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea have invited Northern Ireland teenager Charlie Allen for trials.The Daily Express says the 15-year-old has already broken into the first team at Northern Irish champions Linfield, and is now being chased by a bevy of Premier League clubs, having had trials at Tottenham and Manchester City.Chelsea, currently under a transfer ban, are exploring the possibility of taking Allen on trial. Norwich and Glaswegian giants Rangers are also, though, on the teenager’s trail.Attacking midfielder Allen made his senior debut during the latter stages of last season, playing the final eight minutes of a 1-1 draw at Coleraine to become the club’s youngest debutant, as Linfield closed on the Danske Bank Premiership title. last_img read more

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JUDGE CRITICIZES TORONTOS JAZZFM91 OVER ACRIMONIOUS FIGHT WITH MEMBERS

first_imgAdvertisement A Superior Court of Ontario judge chastised JAZZ.FM91 on Friday morning, saying the not-for-profit Toronto radio station had been “playing games” to prevent a dissident shareholder group from lobbying members for changes in the organization’s board of directors.Justice Sean Dunphy directed the station to provide the e-mail addresses of its approximately 2,200 member-donors to Brian Hemming, a Toronto-investment relations consultant and founder of Save Jazz FM. The group was founded in the summer after an eruption of discontent among supporters.The station had provided Mr. Hemming with names and addresses of members, but refused to include e-mail addresses or phone numbers, citing privacy concerns. Mr. Hemming argued that the move disadvantaged his group in its dispute, noting the station’s board frequently lobbies its members through e-mails. Facebook Advertisement Advertisement Twitter Login/Register With: Justice Dunphy said the station’s defiant stand “was clearly adopted to frustrate the applicants and not – as suggested – out of concern to maintain privacy.” Still, he denied Mr. Hemming’s request for phone numbers, characterizing that method of contact as intrusive. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment last_img read more

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5000 shopping spree offered after lenses and rare camera stolen from Calgary

first_imgA $5,000 shopping spree is up for grabs after someone stole roughly $35,000 worth of camera equipment from a downtown shop. The Camera Store said someone smashed through the glass to break into the store on 11 Avenue S.W. at about 4 a.m. on Saturday.Partner Julian Ferreira said a selection of high-end, specialty cameras and lenses were stolen, including a rare collectors item worth $13,000. “Out of a showcase of about $100,000 worth of gear, they took one specific camera,” said Ferreira. “It’s [the Leica MP Safari Edition], it’s a green camera, normally Leica’s are black, or silver and this one was green with a silver lens, so very much a collectible piece.”Along with the Leica, one Hasselblad camera body and three Hasselblad lens’ were also stolen.“All these pieces will stand out insanely,” said Ferreria. “Even if you’re into photography and you know a lot about gear, or you don’t, the pieces are very striking and they are pretty unique.”The store is offering the reward to anyone who has information that leads to a conviction.Calgary Police are investigating. We had a break-in this morning. A selection of specialty cameras & lenses were stolen including a Leica MP Safari kit and a Hasselblad X1D camera lenses. We are offering a $5000 TCS shopping spree for any info that leads to a conviction. Please Share! https://t.co/ysxO5ep3db pic.twitter.com/SWmfiQzyJS— The Camera Store (@thecamerastore) December 16, 2017last_img read more

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Wildfire Service cautioning public after personcaused fire erupts near Mackenzie over the

first_imgAccording to Reynolds, no lightning was recorded in the area at the time the fire was discovered, leading officials to suspect the fire was human-caused. She said that though the fire appears to largely be under control, the Prince George Fire Centre is concerned about the potential for more wildfires to erupt in the coming days as the fire danger rating is forecast to increase.The current fire danger rating across much of the Peace is currently moderate to high, but those values are predicted to increase to ‘extreme’ by the end of this week across much of the Fire Centre. MACKENZIE, B.C. – The BC Wildfire Service is cautioning residents in Northeast B.C. about the increasing danger of wildfires with the current heatwave after a wildfire erupted near Mackenzie over the weekend.Prince George Fire Centre Fire Information Officer Amanda Reynolds said that the Lion’s Lake Fire was reported to officials on Saturday and has since grown to around 47 hectares in size. She said that air tankers were deployed to drop water onto the fire on both Saturday and Sunday and that currently there are 23 firefighters on scene battling the flames with 16 more on the way.The BC Wildfire Service has taken over command of the fight against the fire from the Mackenzie Fire Department, which is continuing to provide assistance against the blaze. The fire is said to have slowed its growth significantly after it experienced rapid growth over the weekend.last_img read more

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