CLEVELAND (CBS Cleveland) – Thank you.
That was the message that Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus, and Michelle Knight conveyed in a 3 and 1/2 minute video which was released at midnight Tuesday on YouTube.
Over $1 million has been raised through the Cleveland Courage Fund to help the 3 women, who were held captive for nearly a decade, get back on their feet.
The video, which was recorded at a downtown law firm on July 2, is the first time that Berry, Dejesus, and Knight have spoken publicly since they escaped captivity on May 6.
Watch the video below.
In addition to the video statement from the 3 women, their attorney’s also released statements once again asking for the public and media to continue to respect the privacy of Berry, DeJesus, Knight and their families as they continue to adapt and try to return to their lives.
“Amanda, Gina and Michelle wanted to say thank you to people from Cleveland and across the world, now that two months have passed,” Kathy Joseph, attorney for Michelle Knight, said. “People are recognizing them now as they go about in public, so they decided to put voices and faces to their heartfelt messages. It was their decision to relay their thanks in this way to all of the many people who have offered support to them, for which they are extremely grateful.”
“But it is important for everyone, especially the media, to understand that the three women still have a strong desire for privacy,” James Wooley, attorney for Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, said. “They do not want to talk about their ordeal with the media or anyone else. This cannot be stated strongly enough. We thank everyone for the privacy and courtesy shown to Amanda, Gina and Michelle over the last few months and ask that this continue.”
Over 2 months have passed since Berry broke through the front door of Ariel Castro’s Seymour Ave. home and cried for help. Police found Knight and DeJesus in the house minutes after Berry frantically dialed 911.
Castro has been indicted on 329 charges covering August 2002, when the first woman disappeared, to February 2007, including kidnapping, rape and aggravated murder.
He is being held on $8 million bond while the district attorney continues to review the case and more charges are expected to be filed against Castro.
Prosecutors are also expected to decide if they will seek the death penalty in the case soon.