CLEVELAND, OH- Today marks three years since the remarkable escape of three young women in Cleveland after they were locked up, tortured and held captive for more than a decade.
Lilly Rose Lee, formerly known as Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Amanda’s daughter risked their lives on May 6, 2013 in order to save their lives.
After years of torture, it was on this day they noticed their captor, Ariel Castro, left the door unlocked. Not knowing if it was a trick, they still took a risk and screamed for help. With the help of nearby Charles Ramsey, a hole was kicked through the bottom of the storm door that let Amanda and her daughter escape. They ran to a neighbor’s home to call 911.
Since then, the women have proven they are strong and courageous survivors.
“I’m going to flourish,” Lilly Rose Lee told Fox 8 this week. “I’m going to rise above all that was done to me and I’m going to make myself a happy life.”
Lilly Rose Lee has done more than flourish. She filmed a music video which was partly shot in the Fox 8 studios, she wrote a book that was turned into a movie, and now she’s dedicating her life to helping others.
Lee says she has dreams of getting married and having a family one day. She has three dogs, including a rescue dog who she says means everything to her. The dog was beaten and tortured and Lee says their stories of struggle bonds them.
Lee told Fox 8 when she gets the chance she still talks with Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry. Gina and Amanda recently appeared on Dr. Oz and talked about their story.
Amanda, who took the lead in answering questions on his show says the hardest part has been losing her mother. Her mother passed away not long before she escaped.
“That was the hardest thing for me,” Amanda said. “I felt like I would run into her arms and she would be the one to welcome me. It just didn't seem real.”
Amanda also talked about her little girl who she had with her captor while locked up. She says one day she plans on telling her the truth.
“I’m going to tell her when she is old enough. I want her to know,” Amanda said.
In the meantime, all of the girls are trying to move on. Lilly Rose Lee says she is doing okay but sometimes she still lives in fear that someone will get her again but this time she won’t be freed. However, she doesn’t want people focusing on her. She wants them to focus on the countless others who are still missing.
“There are still loved ones out there yearning and wanting their loved ones to walk through the door,” Lee said. “I want them to have the same love and strength and hope that we had that carried us through.”