Michelle Knight’s disappearance apparently not treated as missing-person case

Perhaps the most mysterious of the three women who were rescued from a house in Cleveland on Monday night after years in apparent captivity is Michelle Knight.

Knight disappeared in August 2002 but was apparently not treated as a missing person because family members thought she had left home voluntarily. Little information was immediately available about her Tuesday. Even her age was unclear: Police said she was 20 when she disappeared, but local media accounts said at various points that she was 18 or 21.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Knight was last seen at a cousin’s house in Cleveland. Her grandmother, Deborah Knight, told the paper that family members had concluded that Michelle left on her own because she was upset that her son was removed from her custody. It was unclear why that might have happened or what became of her son.

But Michelle Knight’s mother, Barbara Knight, told the paper that she always considered her daughter to be a missing person and that long after police stopped searching, she placed fliers on Cleveland’s west side. Barbara Knight said she and her daughter were close and that the young woman would not have disappeared without even a phone call.

Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, as well as a 6-year-old girl believed to be Berry’s daughter, were rescued Monday from a house in Cleveland where they had been held captive for years.

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Jerry Markon covers the Department of Homeland Security for the Post’s National Desk. He also serves as lead Web and newspaper writer for major breaking national news.
Caitlin Dewey runs The Intersect blog, writing about digital and Internet culture. Before joining the Post, she was an associate online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
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