By Melanie Eversley & Yamiche Alcindor USA TODAY
CLEVELAND - As details trickle in about Michelle Knight, the oldest and longest held of the three women rescued after more than a decade of being held captive in Cleveland, a picture emerges of a young woman who led a troubled life before she vanished on Aug. 23, 2002.
On Thursday night, Knight was reportedly being treated at a hospital. The other two women and a child born to one of them during their time in captivity have returned home.
Knight, now 32, was bullied in high school, dropped out, became pregnant and had her toddler son taken from her by authorities before she was last seen at a cousin's house in Cleveland.
In seeming step with the rocky turns her life appears to have taken, Knight's disappearance did not receive much publicity.
Reports indicate that her life in captivity was just as hard. She reportedly became pregnant five times while in captivity, miscarrying after alleged regular beatings by suspect Ariel Castro, that also left her with hearing loss, The Plain Dealer reports.
But members of the Cleveland community tried to make up for some of those troubles Thursday night by releasing balloons in an open field in honor of Knight and the other two women rescued, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus. Those gathered said they especially wanted to honor Knight to make up for the lack of attention she received while missing.
"It's in support of her," said organizer Loretta Freeman.
As the crowd formed a circle and readied themselves to release the balloons, Knight's grandmother, Deborah Knight, 62, joined them. She spoke through tears from the center of the crowd.
"I'm overwhelmed," Deborah Knight said. "I want to hug and keep her close to me."
Knight, however, said she had not seen Michelle yet and could not comment further.
In the several days last week that the rescue has received attention worldwide, the least has been revealed about Knight.
Michelle's mother, Barbara Knight of Naples, Fla., says her daughter spent most of her life on Cleveland's West Side, helping her mother work in her vegetable garden.
She was enthralled with fire engines that would race down her street and settled on becoming a firefighter after a tour of a fire station, Barbara Knight told The Plain Dealer. Later, after helping her mother deliver a litter of puppies, she changed her mind and decided she'd become a veterinarian.
At 17, she told her mother she'd been assaulted, but she felt the incident was not taken seriously by police, Barbara Knight told the news organization. The mother later believes that an abusive man with whom she had a relationship abused Michelle Knight's toddler son.
Some thought Knight's disappearance was related to her son being taken, Barbara Knight has said.
Tiffani White, Deborah White's granddaughter, tells The Daily Beast no one was looking for Michelle Knight.
"I want her to know that there is someone there for her," Tiffani White says. "We want her home."
Michelle Knight's twin brother, Freddie Knight, told CNN, "My sister is going to move on, forget the past ... leave it behind, start anew."