- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The three women who spent nearly a decade locked in a Cleveland, Ohio, house took to YouTube to express their thanks to a public that smoothed their escape, respected their privacy and prayed for their recovery.

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight all appeared calm and happy in the 3½-minute video. Ms. Berry and Ms. Knight both made statements; Ms. DeJesus answered questions that were posed from someone outside the view of the camera lens.

“First and foremost, I want everyone to know how happy I am to be home with my family, my friends,” Ms. Berry said in the video, ABC reported. “It’s been unbelievable. I want to thank everyone who has helped me and my family though this entire ordeal. Everyone who has been there to support us has been a blessing, to have such an outpouring of love and kindness. I am getting stronger each day and having my privacy has helped immensely.”

Ms. DeJesus’ father, Felix DeJesus, and mother, Nancy Ruiz, also appeared on the video, which was filmed July 2.

Ms. Knight: “I may have been through hell and back, but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face and with my head held high and my feet firmly on the ground. Walking hand-in-hand with my best friend, I will not let the situation define who I am. I will define the situation.”

Ariel Castro, 52, faces a 329-count indictment on charges that include rape and kidnapping.

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