News

For Cleveland kidnap survivor Michelle Knight, son was beacon of hope

Nov. 4, 2013 at 10:06 AM ET

Video: In a new interview with Dr. Phil, Michelle Knight, one of the victims who escaped after being held captive in a Cleveland home for 10 years, describes details of her horrific experience.

Kidnapped, tortured and often left alone in the dark in a filthy Cleveland basement over the course of a decade, Michelle Knight survived by holding out hope that she’d see her son again.

Knight, who was 20 years old when she was abducted by Ariel Castro in 2002, was one of three women he held captive until they escaped in May, with the aid of a passerby. Now 32, Knight opens up to Dr. Phil McGraw in an extensive two-part interview airing on his show Tuesday and Wednesday — an interview that Dr. Phil says left him shaken.

“She did hold on to hope,” Dr. Phil told Kristen Dahlgren on TODAY. “She had one beacon ahead of her, and that was her 2-and-a-half-year-old son. She said, ‘I have to live for him. And I’m fighting to stay alive for him.’” Knight’s son is now 13.

Castro routinely beat and raped Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, and Knight suffered multiple forced miscarriages as a result. Knight went into detail about her gruesome treatment at Castro's hands, which began after he lured her to his home, hit her in the face, and left with her hands and feet tied.

“I was tied up like a fish, an ornament on the wall,” Knight told Dr. Phil, adding that there was also an extension cord tied around her neck.

“You have to recall that for almost a year, it was just the two of them,” Dr. Phil told TODAY. “And there were times that she would be left alone for a few days. And when I say left alone, I mean no food, no water, no toilet…

“She stays in this room for a period of time. And then, when she is taken down, it was like her hands and feet wouldn't work. She had been hanging for days, you know — no circulation. She still has nerve damage in her hands and feet.”

Castro, 52, was sentenced to life without parole plus 1,000 years in prison, but was found dead in his cell just a month later.

Tune in to TODAY Tuesday for more excerpts from Dr. Phil’s interview with Michelle Knight. The whole interview airs on "Dr. Phil" Tuesday and Wednesday. Check your local listings for air times. 

TOP