The television trucks and police have moved on. Now the Cleveland kidnap victims are doing their best to do the same with their lives.
Since being rescued May 6 from a decade of captivity in a house owned by Ariel Castro, Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight are enjoying the little things. Matt Zone, a Cleveland city councilman who has known DeJesus’ family since the day she went missing in 2004 at age 14, said DeJesus has been able to take walks with friends and bond with the shih tzu-terrier puppy she lived with as a prisoner in Castro’s home.
“She definitely wants to get her driver’s license, (and) she's interested in maybe going back to school,’’ Zone told Kate Snow on TODAY Tuesday. “She wants to do the little, simple things, things that you and I take for granted. She wants to go see a dentist, she wants to maybe get her hair done and just do the things that young women do. I'm really happy for her.”
Lawyers for all three women say they are happy, safe and healing. The community has also shown its generosity in helping them return to their lives: The Cleveland Courage Fund has so far raised more than $750,000 to go directly to the survivors. The neighborhood is now quiet save for the flow of people, some from other states, pointing their cameras at Castro’s house, a neighbor told TODAY.
“Some of the survivors are currently looking at apartments and talking about, in one case, Amanda Berry's case: Where does she want to raise her child?’’ Tom Stevens of Cleveland Courage Fund said on TODAY. “So they are moving on with their lives, which is what everybody wants for them.”
On Friday, Cleveland Browns players took part in a benefit at the House of Blues to raise money for the victims.
“I wanted to do something where I could really impact and help them,’’ Browns safety T.J. Ward told TODAY.