Castro Home Demolished As Michelle Knight Watches [Video]

Cleveland, OH – Ariel Castro’s home was finally demolished this week in front of a crowd that included one of his victims, Michelle Knight.

“I want the people to know, including the mothers, that they can have strength, they can have hope, and their child will come back,” Knight said, releasing yellow balloons meant to represent children who were never found.

“There is hope for everyone,” she said of her reasons for her visit to the site.

Onlookers cheered as a backhoe started tearing down Castro’s house, and members of another victim, Gina DeJesus, stood out front. DeJesus’ aunt was in the cab of the backhoe as it started tearing the house apart.

“It felt great,” said DeJesus’ aunt, Peggy Arida.

Castro abducted Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry between 2002 and 2004 and kept them in captivity for a decade. They were rescued earlier this year when Berry managed to escape the house and warn bystanders nearby. Castro was arrested the same day.

The 53-year-old was charged with 937 criminal counts of kidnapping and rape, as well as aggravated murder (he had violently caused one of his victims to miscarry). To save his life, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison, no parole, plus 1,000 years.

“We had a lot of harmony going on in that home,” Castro said at his sentencing. “I am not a violent person. I simply kept them there without them being able to leave.”

Knight had a different take on her captor and his house during her speech at his hearing. “I spent 11 years in hell.”

The city has not yet figured out what to do with Castro’s house lot. Knight said that she hopes they turn it into a garden.

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[Image: Wikimedia Commons]