Ariel Castro tied up his first victim, Michelle Knight, with an extension cord and left her hanging in a room for days during a decade of horrific abuse while in captivity, the victim told Dr. Phil McGraw.
“I was tied up like a fish, an ornament on the wall,” Knight said in a “Today” show clip (above) that aired Monday. “That’s the only way I can describe it.”
Castro hung her by her feet, neck and hands, Knight explained, while using her hands to demonstrate how her body was constrained for days on end.
Dr. Phil appeared on the NBC morning news program to talk about the interview with Knight that is airing in full on Tuesday and Wednesday during his own program.
“She stays in this room for a period of time. And then, when she is taken down, it was like her hands and feet wouldn’t work,” Dr. Phil told “Today” correspondent Kristen Dahlgren. “She had been hanging for days, you know — no circulation. She still has nerve damage in her hands and feet.”
The terror began in 2002 when Castro lured Knight into his Cleveland home, then locked her in an upstairs room and struck her in the face.
“He gets her to go upstairs. The next thing she knows, she’s in a room and the door closed and he says, ‘I cannot let you leave,'” Dr. Phil said. “He hits her hard — brutally — flush in the face.”
When she wasn’t hanging from the wall, she was taken down to what Dr. Phil described as a “just nasty” basement where Castro chained her to a pole and placed a motorcycle helmet on her head while he repeatedly sexually assaulted her.
“She did hold on to hope,” Dr. Phil added. “She had one beacon ahead of her, and that was her 2-and-a-half-year-old son. She said, ‘I have to live for him. And I’m fighting to stay alive for him.'”
Knight’s son is now 13.
Knight was rescued in May along with two other young women — Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus. Castro was arrested and sentenced to life in prison. But three weeks into his sentence, in September, Castro committed suicide by hanging himself.