Cleveland Kidnapping Victims Grateful for Support, Privacy in Letter
The three Cleveland women rescued from the kidnappings that kept them in captivity for over a decade say they are "happy and safe" as they continue to recover from the harrowing ordeal.
The attorneys for Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight released a letter on behalf of their clients thanking the public for their encouragement, as well as for respecting their requests for privacy.
"The outpouring of public support has been nothing short of remarkable," the letter stated.
"To have complete strangers offer loving support in the form of money, goods and services, reaching out to help like a family member, is appreciated in ways that are impossible to put into words. Amanda, Gina and Michelle, who have asked for nothing, are frankly overwhelmed by it all."
The women escaped from Ariel Castro's home on May 6.
A charity established to help the women in the aftermath of the kidnappings has raised more than $650,000. Donations will directly benefit Berry, her daughter, DeJesus, and Knight.
The letter in full:
Amanda, Gina & Michelle Offer Thanks to Community
We are the attorneys who have come together to help Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.
These three brave women have asked us to give this message to everyone who has expressed concern and support.
Amanda, Gina and Michelle want you to know they are doing well. They are happy and safe and continue to heal, a process that requires time and privacy.
Since we first spoke publicly on their behalf, it has been wonderful to see that their plea for privacy has been answered and respected. The media has disappeared from their front lawns and their neighborhoods are no longer experiencing traffic jams from news vehicles and curious onlookers. You have no idea how much this means to them and has helped in their recovery process.
Their first public message included a simple, heartfelt thanks to well-wishers and supporters for "everything you are doing." That "everything" now includes perhaps the greatest gift of all – the space and time to reconnect with their families and recover and rebuild their lives. And so they say again, "Thank you. Thank you so much!"
We continue to receive numerous generous offers to support Amanda, Gina and Michelle and their families.
The outpouring of public support has been nothing short of remarkable.
To have complete strangers offer loving support in the form of money, goods and services, reaching out to help like a family member, is appreciated in ways that are impossible to put into words. Amanda, Gina and Michelle, who have asked for nothing, are frankly overwhelmed by it all.
You have touched their hearts in ways they will never forget. So again, they collectively say "Thank you. Thank you so much!"
We understand some people may be confused about the best way to help. We are in direct, private and ongoing conversations with Amanda, Gina and Michelle about many matters, including your generosity.
While they appreciate the generous offers of goods and services, for now, they are trying to assess what they need today and for years to come. That's why donations to the Cleveland Courage Funds are so welcome.
We are confident the Cleveland Courage Funds are the legitimate, appropriate and most effective vehicles for this effort. In fact, donations to the Cleveland Courage Funds are already being distributed to the four survivors consistent with the concepts behind the trusts that are being set up. And as soon as the trusts are in place, one-hundred percent of all donations to the Cleveland Courage Funds will go into those trusts.
Cleveland is known for its generosity. Amanda, Gina, Michelle and Amanda's daughter are indeed grateful for that generosity, as are we.
Kathy Joseph, Heather Kimmel, Henry Hilow, and James Wooley are attorneys representing the survivors on a pro bono basis.