CLEVELAND — One of three Cleveland women kidnapped and held for years by Ariel Castro said in a television interview that she suffered pregnancies and miscarriages at the hands of the bus driver, who beat her regularly for hours at a time.
When Castro learned of Michelle Knight’s first pregnancy by him, he struck her in the stomach with a barbell, warning her that, “tomorrow ‘it’ better be gone,” Knight, 32, told Phil McGraw in a taping for his “Dr. Phil” syndicated program that aired Tuesday.
Knight told McGraw that Castro hated her and didn’t want her to have a child. She said she had five pregnancies and miscarriages at his hands after her abduction in 2002.
“He couldn’t control me very much,” Knight said. “I was the most hated one because he couldn’t break me.”
Knight was the first of three women Castro kidnapped and held in his house. Castro kidnapped Amanda Berry, 27, in 2003 and Gina DeJesus, 23, in 2004. The women escaped in May, along with Berry’s 6-year-old daughter, whom Castro had fathered.
Their story captured worldwide attention. Castro was found hanged in his prison cell in September, a month after he pleaded guilty to almost 1,000 charges of rape, kidnapping, torture and aggravated murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Knight had a 2-year-old son when she was captured, a fact Castro taunted her with, telling her that her son was better off without her, she said.
“My love for my son got me through it,” Knight said.
Knight said she was kept in a basement, her hands bound by plastic ties with a motorcycle helmet on her head for weeks after Castro first kidnapped her.
“The only thing I could do was cry,” Knight said.
Castro often returned to the house intoxicated and beat Knight for three to four hours at a time, she said.
Knight said Castro “was obsessed with prostitutes.” She said he had thought she was a 13-year-old prostitute and became angry when he found out she was 20 years old.
Knight said she watched news coverage of Berry’s disappearance on a television in the room where she was being held, but did not meet Berry until weeks afterward. Knight said she only saw Berry six or seven times that first year and they were never alone together.
In part two of the interview airing Wednesday, Knight talks about helping to deliver Berry’s daughter on Christmas Day in 2006.
Berry and DeJesus are planning a book about their ordeal, working with Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post writers Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan.
Knight was the only one of the three to testify at Castro’s sentencing after he agreed to a life term to avoid a death sentence.