One of three women held captive for a torturous 11 years in the Cleveland home of Ariel Castro just revealed not only that she’s changed her name from Michelle Knight to Lily Rose Lee but also that a memoir of her ordeal is due out on May 6, the one-year anniversary of her escape.
Called Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed, the 33-year-old co-wrote the book with Michelle Burford. She told NBC’s Today on Thursday that the book will delve deeply into the heinous ordeal perpetrated by Castro, who committed suicide just a few weeks after receiving a life sentence for kidnapping Knight, Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry, not to mention fathering Berry’s daughter who would have to wait until 6 years old to first experience the outdoors.
Much of the interview focused on Castro and his plot to keep them locked up forever, during which she often weighed suicide only to find hope in her friendship with DeJesus.
“There were days like he’ll come in and he’ll just do bad things in front of me, and I’ll take her hand and I’ll tell her everything’s gonna be okay,” she said. “One day we’ll get out. One day we’ll be free. One day we won’t be voiceless.”
Just after their release, as the three women issued individual statements at a press conference, Knight promised that her time spent in what the media had dubbed a “House of Horrors” would not define her.
“I may have been through hell and back,” she said, “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-to-hand with my best friend, I will not let the situation define who I am. I will define the situation….”
She told Today that part of redefining herself had to do with her new name, her favorite flower.
“I felt like every brand-new start needs new beginnings,” she said.
Knight was the only one of the three grown victims to attend Castro’s sentencing to read her victim statement directly to her tormentor, according to an Inquisitr report about the hearing. Part of that unflinching statement:
“I spent 11 years in hell, and now your hell is just beginning. I will overcome all of this that happened, and you will face hell in eternity. You will die a little every day as you think about 11 years and atrocities you inflicted on us,” she said. “I can forgive you, but I can’t ever forget.”
Though the three women remain close, Knight told People in an article released Thursday that they’ve all gone their separate ways a year after Castro left their lives for good.
“I love them and they love me,” she said. “Hopefully, we’ll all get back together again.”
Right now, she added, they’re all catching up on the lost time that Castro had stolen from them: “I don’t take things for granted anymore, not even the little things like looking out a window. I went through years of torture, and now I’m back. I’m free to fly.”
[Image courtesy of The Celebrity Pix]