Dugard: Give Cleveland 3 time to heal
08 May 2013, 08:13
San Francisco - Kidnapping survivor Jaycee Dugard says the women who went missing about a decade ago and were found at a Cleveland home, need a chance to heal and reconnect with the world.
The three women - Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight - were discovered by police after Berry on Monday broke out of the house where they had been detained, with the help of a neighbour.
Two of them were held for more than a decade.
Authorities later arrested three brothers, ages 50 to 54.
In a statement released on Tuesday through her publicist, Dugard said the human spirit is resilient, and the case reaffirms that people should never give up hope.
Dugard was abducted from a South Lake Tahoe, California, bus stop in 1991 at the age of 11 and held captive for 18 years in a backyard, where she gave birth to two children conceived by rape.
She wrote a best-selling memoir in 2011, A Stolen Life, which recounts her years in captivity.
The news of the three women's rescue gave the parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann hope, AFP reported on Tuesday.
She disappeared from the family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz on Portugal's south coast in May 2007, while her parents were at dinner.
A potential new lead in the McCann case came to nothing earlier this year when DNA from a girl in New Zealand bearing striking resemblance to Madeleine, proved that it was not her.
Another high-profile kidnap survivor, Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped from her home in 2002 at the age of 14 before being found alive nine months later, said she hoped the victims would be able to rebuild their lives.
"They should never feel like their worth has been lessened from anything that happened and I hope that they realise there's so much ahead of them they don't need to hold on to the past," Smart told ABC television's Good Morning America.
Smart urged the three women to try and follow the advice she had received from her mother following her own abduction - to not let their alleged ordeal at the hands of 52-year-old Ariel Castro ruin the rest of their lives.
Asked what advice she would give the women, Smart said: "It'd be to not allow this man to ruin another second of their lives.
"He's stolen so much from them already. They deserve to be happy and I'd tell them that they should never feel like they're not worthy.
"They don't need to relive everything that's happened."