How Ariel Castro Got Me Into His Home

Michelle Knight speaks to Anderson Cooper
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2014 5:58 AM CDT

Today is exactly one year since three women were rescued from Ariel Castro's Cleveland home, and Michelle Knight (now Lillian Rose Lee) continues to speak out about her experience. Castro's first victim appeared last night on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, in what was the first of a three-part interview. She explains to Cooper what got her into Castro's home in the first place: puppies. He had offered the then-21-year-old a ride, and "in the car, he said that he had puppies. So I was like, OK, I could take one home to my son because, unfortunately, his dog has passed away." She describes entering his backyard, and then his house. Only then did it hit her it "was a mistake to get in his car." Other details from the interview, along with an interview she gave to Today yesterday morning:

  • Castro said he never intended to free her. "He said you don't have a family that cares about you. If I kill you right now, nobody would even care," she told Cooper.
  • She was for months kept chained in the basement, gagged and wearing a motorcycle helmet.
  • When she was moved to an upstairs room she sometimes had access to a TV; 8 months after she was taken she saw a news report about Amanda Berry's disappearance, and thought Castro was likely involved.
  • She one day screamed until she lost her voice. "When he hears you scream," she recalls, "he just shoves a sock or a cloth down your throat until you choke on it."
  • She has little contact these days with Berry and Gina DeJesus. "Right now, we're all healing in our own way. Sometimes relationships, including friendships, don't last that long."
  • Thoughts of that son she wanted the puppy for—he's now 14—gave her the will to survive. The boy was adopted after she vanished in 2002, and his parents have not told him about her, which Knight describes as tough. "But I’m glad they have him and he's doing really well."
Click to read about the meaning of Knight's new name. (More Michelle Knight stories.)

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