CLEVELAND -- The mother of Michelle Knight, held captive for a more than a decade, said Wednesday she has not seen her daughter since police freed her from a Cleveland home two days ago but just wants to "hug her."
"I was hoping and praying all the time" for her return, Barbara Knight, who now lives in Florida, told WKYC-TV in Cleveland. "I'm thrilled and all I want to do is hug her and tell her I love her."
Michelle Knight, now 32, vanished Aug 22, 2002. She has been hospitalized since being freed Monday. Deborah Knight, Michelle's grandmother, told the Plain Dealer of Cleveland that Michelle's disappearance didn't draw the kind of attention given the other two women, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, because social workers concluded Knight ran away after losing custody of her son.
Barbara Knight said she and Michelle were close, and she never believed that her daughter would disappear voluntarily. She told WKYC-TV she never gave up hope that her daughter was alive, but also had been concerned that she was dead and her body would never be found.
Eight months after Michelle Knight disappeared, Berry disappeared -- a day before her 17th birthday, after telling her sister she was getting a ride home from her job at a Burger King. DeJesus, then 14, disappeared in 2004 on her way home from school.
All were rescued Monday after Berry's screams alerted a neighbor, Charles Ramsey, who helped her, and her 6-year-old daughter, escape by kicking out the lower part of the door.
Berry used a borrowed cellphone to call 911. Police arrived minutes later and rescued Knight and DeJesus.
Michelle Knight remained hospitalized Wednesday morning.