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Ex-Cleveland Captive Michelle Knight Discharged From Hospital

posted 11 May 2013, 03:42 by Mpelembe   [ updated 11 May 2013, 03:43 ]

Michelle Knight quietly leaves hospital with little indication where she may be headed, in stark contrast to the much-publicized and emotional family reunions of her fellow ex-Cleveland captives.

CLEVELANDOHIOUNITED STATES (MAY 9, 2013) (NBC) -  Michelle Knight, the longest-held captive in a dungeon-like Clevelandhouse, was discharged from hospital on Friday (May 10), MetroHealth Medical Center has announced.

It was unclear where Knight, 32, was headed after she was released from the hospital early Friday afternoon.

Before her release, Knight issued a statement saying she is in good spirits and grateful for the outpouring of flowers and gifts she's received, and asked the public to continue respecting her privacy.

The lack of details surrounding her discharge was in stark contrast to the much-publicized and emotional family reunions earlier this week of her fellow former captives Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus. Both Berry and DeJesus were welcomed home by cheering throngs of well-wishers and a crush of flowers, balloons and posters.

Interviews with Knight's relatives weave a strained family portrait and, during her hospital stay, Knight largely shunned visits from her family, some of whom thought she was a runaway when she vanished.

Deborah Knight, Michelle's grandmother, told reporters on Thursday (May 9) that the family stopped looking for Michelle when she failed to come home after a couple of months and that Michelle did not wish to be seen by family.

"We just waiting for her to come home and after two to three months she didn't show up, so we just kind of quit looking and just waiting for her to come home when she wanted to," the grandmother told reporters on Thursday (May 9).

She added that, once other women disappeared from the Cleveland area, the family felt Michelle may have been abducted. Neither the grandmother nor Michelle's mother, who moved to Florida but flew back to Cleveland this week, have seen her yet.

One of Michelle's two brothers, Freddie Knight, did go to the hospital and visited with his sister immediately after the three women were found.

"It was awesome to see her, you know. I had not seen her for 11 years. Seeing my sister safe made me happy," he told reporters on Thursday (May 9).

Knight said Michelle showed him some of her drawings during his visit at the hospital. He was not sure if they were made during her hospital stay or during her captivity. He said Michelle wants to try to become a singer and that he wants to help her out. "I'm going to be there for my sister and protect her," Knight said.

The brother has since spoken to Michelle once by phone but said he would leave her alone at the request of the hospital.

Michelle Knight was a 20-year-old single mother when she vanished in 2002 after losing a custody battle with child welfare authorities over her son, who was about 3 or 4 years old, Deborah Knight said.

Ariel Castro, a 52-year-old former school bus driver was charged on Wednesday (May 8) with kidnapping Knight, Amanda Berry, 27, and Gina DeJesus, 23, and a 6-year-old girl who was born in captivity. He was also charged with raping the three women.

Knight has told authorities that Castro starved her and repeatedly punched her in the stomach, resulting in five miscarriages. In addition to kidnapping and rape charges, prosecutors say they'll also charge Castro with aggravated murder for beatings that lead to knight's miscarriages.

DNA tests released on Friday, meanwhile, identified Castro as the father of the girl, who was born in captivity to Berry, the Ohio attorney general said on Friday. Also on Friday, construction crews were seen outside the Castro home preparing to install plywood fencing around the property, under supervision by FBI and other law enforcement officials.