One of the three Cleveland kidnapping survivors watched as wrecking crews destroyed the two-story house in Ohio where Ariel Castro kept her captive for a decade. Crowds cheered as the building was reduced to rubble Wednesday morning.
“I want the people out there to know, including the mothers, that they can have strength, they can have hope, and their child will come back,” Michelle Knight, one of the women held captive, told people during the demolition. “They will, just have the love in God, and you’ll see, they will come back.”
After 10 years of being held captive in the house, Amanda Berry broke free in May, leading police to discover her fellow captives, Knight and Gina DeJesus.
People at the scene on Wednesday released yellow balloons to remember missing children who were never found and the ones who died, Knight said.
Last month Castro, 52, agreed to plead guilty and serve life without parole. Part of his plea bargain was to pay to tear down the house with the $22,000 that was found in his basement earlier this year. When it wasn’t needed for the demolition—the contractor performed the work for free—the three women turned it down, saying they wanted to give the sum to the neighborhood.
(Watch the demolition below.)