- (Photo: Reuters/FBI)
UPDATE 2.42PM ET - Michelle Knight has been released from Metro Health Medical Center in Cleveland and the following statement has been released by the hospital on her behalf:
Michelle Knight is in good spirits and would like the community to know that she is extremely grateful for the outpouring of flowers and gifts. She is especially thankful for the Cleveland Courage Fund. She asks that everyone please continue to respect her privacy at this time.
Kidnap victim, Michelle Knight, is shunning her family as she recuperates in hospital on Thursday after being rescued from 11 years of captivity in the home of abductor, Ariel Castro.
Knight was held for more than a decade – the longest of the three victims held in Castro's home – and at the moment she remains hospitalized whereas the other two victims, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus have gone home to family.
According to reports, on Thursday Knight has refused visits from relatives, some of whom believed that she had run away when she disappeared 11 years ago.
Doctors at Metro Health Medical Center in Cleveland have described Thursday that 32 year old Knight is in good health. However, it now emerges that neither Knight's grandmother nor her mother, who flew in from Florida this week, have seen her yet, according to Reuters. One other conflicting report from CBS News claimed that Michelle had met her mother for a very brief moment on Wednesday, but that it was tense and eventually Michelle asked her mother to leave.
Grandmother, Deborah Knight has said, "No, we haven't – on her request. She does not want to be seen by family," according to Reuters.
Knight's grandmother, Deborah Knight, had previously said in an interview that family members had believed Michelle had ran away because she was angry that her son had been removed from her custody. The grandmother claims that the family held that belief based on the recommendation of police and social workers.
- (Photo: Reuters/John Gress)
However, Michelle has agreed to allow one of her siblings, brother Freddie Knight, in to see her since she was freed on Monday.
Freddie has since described his sister: "Her skin was white as a ghost. She told me she was excited to start a new life."
However, since his one visit to see her he has not been back. Instead he has spoken to her once on the telephone, but has agreed to stay away for the moment at the recommendation of hospital staff.
Michelle Knight's grandmother Deborah has also told WOIO-TV Thursday that Michelle will require facial reconstructive surgery as Castro had beaten her so badly during her captivity. She said, "When she was severely beaten, he had beat her so bad in the face, she has to have facial reconstruction, and she's lost hearing in one ear."
As well as Knight, Amanda Berry, now 27, was freed on Monday. She went missing in April 2003 after finishing a work shift at a local Burger King, one day before her 17th birthday.
Berry's aunt, Gale Mitchell, has spoken out about the developments, testifying that her family had never given up hope that she would be found alive.
"My daughter (Berry's cousin) had a feeling she was still alive," Mitchell recently told CNN. "So did I. You don't give up hope; you just pray and pray and pray."
"It's crazy. I always knew that Amanda was a strong-willed person and eventually I knew she would get out of there. I just knew it. I just wondered 'Why not sooner?'" Mitchell questioned.
The three girls were found in a home belonging to Ariel Castro in a low-income neighborhood on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland's West Side on Monday.
Gina DeJesus disappeared at age 14 in April 2004 while walking home from school, and Knight, who disappeared at age 20 in August 2002.
"If you don't believe in miracles, I suggest you think again," Sandra Ruiz, DeJesus' aunt, told local news station WJW.