CLEVELAND (WJW) – It has been ten years since Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were rescued from at least a decade in captivity. But there was a fourth person rescued that day that isn’t often talked about: Amanda’s daughter Jocelyn.
Just six years old when rescued, Jocelyn is now a young woman. She will be a junior in high school and just celebrated her sweet 16.
Jocelyn is now the same age Amanda was when she was kidnapped, something Amanda finds difficult to comprehend.
“We had this big birthday bash for her,” Amanda said. “You know, it was just something I always wanted to do, and it felt normal.”
At the party, Amanda and Jocelyn slow danced to the song “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack.
“Once I listened to the words again, I’m like, ‘This is it.’ If she heard this song one day and she thinks of me, that’s what I hope,” Amanda said. “I know sometimes I’ll hear a song that my mom loved, and I’ll be like, ‘Oh wow, she’s speaking to me.’ It was just amazing to be able to hold her. You know, I just want her to know how much she means to me. I think she knows, but it was an amazing moment, and I’ll never ever forget that.”
After everything they’ve been through, Amanda’s focus is normalcy. “That’s the big thing for me, I think. I didn’t want her to go to school and feel like she was out of place or feel like what happened to her is going to follow her for the rest of her life. I don’t want her to feel like it’s a curse.”
The two have a bond “like no other,” and Jocelyn already has plans for the future. “She loves nails. She’s very into makeup and hair. She’s a girly girl. She definitely wants to go to college and do cosmetology.”
Jocelyn also loves animals and wants to bring them home and take care of every stray she meets. “She did want to be a vet growing up, until a couple of years ago,” Amanda said. “She said ‘I’ll never be able to work, I’ll just be crying all the time.’ Her heart is just so big.”
“I hope she has a great life and does everything she wants to. I tell her all the time, ‘Everything I do, I do for you. I want you to have a good life. I want you to grow up and do what you want in life.’ She can do whatever she wants.”