Former Ohio captive Michelle Knight says she knew she’d escape from Ariel Castro

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“She will survive, but she has gone through a lot of physical and emotional pain,” Faraglia said.

All three women were willing to testify at trial about their ordeals if needed, she said.

The three women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. Each had accepted a ride from Castro. They escaped May 6, when Amanda Berry, now 27, broke part of a door to Castro’s house in a tough neighborhood and yelled to neighbors for help. Castro was arrested that evening.

The escape electrified Cleveland, where photos of the missing women still hung on utility posts. Elation turned to despair as details of their ordeal emerged.

At the sentencing, prosecutors detailed Castro’s repeated sexual assaults and how he chained the women and denied them food or fresh air. They displayed photos that gave a first glimpse inside the rooms where the women lived.

Stuffed animals lined the bed and crayon drawings were taped to the wall where Berry lived with her young daughter, who was fathered by Castro. One of the drawings on a shelf said, “Happy Birthday.”

But in the room, the window was boarded shut and door knobs had been removed and replaced with multiple locks. Saucer-size holes in inside doors were meant for circulation.

Another room, shared by Knight and DeJesus, had a portable toilet, a clock radio and several chains.

Prosecutors said the women were chained to a pole in the basement and to a bedroom heater. One woman had a motorcycle helmet placed on her head while chained in the basement; later, when she tried to escape, she had a vacuum cleaner cord wrapped around her neck.

FBI agent Andrew Burke said Castro would occasionally pay his victims after raping them. But he then would require them to pay him if they wanted something special from the store.

Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty said in a court filing that the women kept diaries.

“The entries speak of forced sexual conduct, of being locked in a dark room, of anticipating the next session of abuse, of the dreams of someday escaping and being reunited with family, of being chained to a wall, of being held like a prisoner of war … of being treated like an animal,” the filing said.

Knight was lured into Castro’s house with the promise of a puppy for her young son. She said she cried every night and her years in captivity “turned into eternity.”

“He tormented me constantly, especially on holidays,” Knight said. “Christmas was the most traumatic day because I didn’t get to spend it with my son.”

She sat quietly as Castro claimed the women lived happy lives with him.

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