The mother of one of the three woman held captive for than a decade in a Cleveland home said she never gave up hope, even though authorities gave her little reason to have any when her adult daughter disappeared.
“They just told me if she breaks the law or if they spot her, they’ll let me know, but nothing happened,” Barbara Knight told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie on Wednesday.
Her daughter, Michelle Knight, now 32, vanished in 2002 on the day she was supposed to appear in court for a custody battle over her young son. The fight over the toddler had deeply hurt Knight, her mother said.
“Well, because she was 20, they figured that she just left because of the upset, because of the baby,” she said.
Michelle Knight was held captive along with two other women in the Cleveland home until a dramatic rescue Monday night. While the disappearance of the other women, who were teenagers when they vanished, made headlines, Knight’s case received little attention.
Barbara Knight said she didn’t believe her daughter disappeared on her own or because of any hostility she felt toward her mother.
“Certain people, they told me that maybe she didn’t want nothing to do with me, but still, in my heart, I thought, no, because I know my Michelle,” she said.
Cleveland Police Department Chief Michael McGrath told Guthrie on TODAY that a joint task force with the FBI has determined that the victims were forcibly held against their will and were "very rarely'' allowed outside the home.
McGrath also confirmed the women were bound, and that ropes and chains were found in the home.
Knight said she never gave up hope her daughter would be found.
“I had my doubts but then I looked on the bright side. I did go to God and I prayed for some kind of thing to tell me at least if she’s alive or not,” she said.
Knight said she has yet to reunite with her daughter, although her sons have. She hopes she’ll get the chance to see her soon and knows exactly what she will say.
“That I love you and I missed you all this time and hopefully whatever happened between us, if something did, I hope it heals because I really want to take her back to Florida with me,” she said. “I don’t want to leave her here up in Cleveland.”