Standing outside the boarded-up, two-story house where Ariel Castro held her and two other women for a decade, Cleveland kidnapping survivor Michelle Knight released dozens of yellow balloons on Wednesday — as heavy construction equipment began to tear to the ground the house that was her prison.
Knight, wearing a rosary around her neck, said a prayer and hugged representatives from the county prosecutor's office as she was accompanied down the street by a small group of Guardian Angels.
"Nobody was there for me when I was missing, and I want the people to know, including the mothers, that they can have strength, they can have hope, and their child will come back," Knight said.
The balloons represented children who were abducted and never found, Knight said, and she said her visit had a simple message: "There is hope for everyone."
As wrecking crews demolished the home of Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty remarked, "He's going to sit in the bowels of prison now the rest of his life, the rest of his days, in fear himself of the other prisoners."
Neighbors cheered and clapped as a backhoe began ripping into the roof of the house just before 7:30 p.m., with members of DeJesus' family out front, WKYC reported. In the cab of the backhoe as it took the first chunks out of the facade was the aunt of another victim, Gina DeJesus.