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Neighbor on Michelle Knight: ‘She’s Really Strong’

CLEVELAND– Even though Ariel Castro’s fate has been determined, there are still some questions to be answered. Where will he serve his life sentence? Who will receive reward money for finding the women? What will happen to his home?

Castro was taken to the Lorain Correctional Institution late Friday afternoon.

One day after she bravely confronted Ariel Castro in court, 32-year old Michelle Knight returned to Seymour Avenue, and to the house she was held captive in for eleven years.

“I hugged her and she was saying thank you, and took a picture with her,” said neighbor Catherine Adames.

Altagracia Tejeda doesn’t speak English, but her daughter-in-law told us how they both reacted.

“She’s little, but she’s strong; she’s really strong and I’m proud at how strong she is. It doesn’t seem like she’s letting that affect her,” Ademas said.

The women were rescued May 6, with the help of two neighbors, Charles Ramsey and Angel Cordero; but it’s not clear who will receive about $20,000 in reward money.

An FBI spokeswoman said each law enforcement agency involved in the investigation will meet together to decide who should receive the reward money.

People from all over the country continue to drive past the infamous house to take pictures of the home where Michelle was held, beaten and tortured, along with Amanda Berry, now 27 and Gina DeJesus, now, 23.

“Heinous crimes occurred in that house. People have a remembrance, a stigma. They have a bad taste in their mouth seeing that property there and knowing what was going on inside of it,” said Gus Frangos, president of the Cuyahoga Land Bank.

The home is now owned by the Cuyahoga Land Bank, which plans to tear it down next week. Frangos said the demolition costs will be donated, and they’ll let neighbors and the survivors decide what should replace it.

“It would be nice to have a park or have a monument for them,” said Valeska Morena, a former classmate of Amanda Berry.

“Something bright, maybe a garden, something that brings color and something positive to the neighborhood,” said neighbor, Keiona Coleman.”

One neighbor said Michelle told her what she wants to be there.

“She wants to make a garden with a big angel to show how strong she is and how
everything’s good now, and she’s free,” Ademas said.

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