Two women who survived Cleveland kidnapping plan book
Two of the three Cleveland women who survived years of imprisonment after being kidnapped by school bus driver Ariel Castro will collaborate on a book about the ordeal with two Washington Post writers.
James Wooley, a lawyer for Amanda Berry, 27 and Gina DeJesus, 23, said in a statement on Monday that the book will be “a story, above all else, about human dignity and human survival.”
The third kidnap victim, Michelle Knight, 32, is planning an appearance on the “Dr. Phil” syndicated TV program hosted by celebrity counselor Phil McGraw. The interviews will air November 4, 5 and 6, according to the show.
Berry, DeJesus and Knight, along with Berry’s 6-year-old daughter, managed to escape from Castro’s run-down Cleveland home last May after about a decade in captivity. The girl had been fathered by Castro.
Their story captured worldwide attention and Castro was found hanging in his prison cell in September, a month after pleading guilty and being sentenced to life imprisonment.
Washington Post writer and Cleveland native Mary Jordan said in a statement that she and her husband, Washington Post colleague Kevin Sullivan, will work on the book with Berry and DeJesus. Jordan and Sullivan won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for their articles on conditions in Mexico’s criminal justice system.
The lawyer Wooley said Berry and DeJesus were interested in countering “inaccuracies” that have been told about them.
“Our clients have a strong desire for privacy, but it is a reality that confronts them every day,” Wooley’s statement said. “Gina, Amanda and their families have decided to take control and are now interested in telling the story of what happened to them.”
Knight, the first woman kidnapped by Castro in 2002, had been the only one of the three to testify at Castro’s sentencing after he had agreed to a life term to avoid a death sentence. She said she was the “most hated” victim in the house and suffered the most abuse at Castro’s hands, according to a statement from the “Dr. Phil” show.
“Michelle Knight’s story of horror and courageous survival almost defies description and has changed me like no other in 12 years of doing the show,” Phil McGraw said in a statement. “Her dark journey from victim to victor is beyond compelling.”