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Published On: Tue, Jul 9th, 2013

Kidnap victims Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight make video to thank supporters

The three young women held captive in a Cleveland home for almost a decade are thanking the public for its support in their first public statements since their rescue in May.

Amanda Berry

Amanda Berry

Smiling and appearing upbeat, Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus speak separately in a three-minute, 30-second video released on YouTube.

“I may have been through hell and back, but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face and my head held high,” Knight says, reading from a statement. “I will not let the situation define who I am. I will define the situation. I don’t want to be consumed by hatred.”

The 32-year-old Knight, who was 21 when she disappeared, says she is building a “brand new life.”

The video was filmed July 2 and released by a public relations agency on the women’s behalf with the cooperation of their lawyers.

The three were still in their teens when they disappeared at different times from 2002 to 2004.

Ariel Castro, a 52-year-old former school bus driver, has been charged with kidnapping the girls off the streets of the city and holding them captive in his two-story home. He also faces additonal charges associated with causing abortions in the girls. (more here)

Castro, who has pleaded not guilty, was deemed mentally fit last week to stand trial. It is scheduled to begin August 5.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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