“May God take pity on your soul,” says Gina de Jesus cousin to Ariel Castro

Life without parole and 1,000 years in prison was the sentencing given to Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro in court on Thursday.

But the Cleveland man, who kidnapped, imprisoned and abused three women for almost a decade, also had to hear statements from the victims or their families.

One of the three survivors, Gina De Jesus, did not attend the ruling.   But her cousin Sylvia Colon, delivered a statement on her behalf.

“Today, we will close this chapter of our lives.  Today is the last day we want to think or talk about this,” said Colon, who worked hard to keep her composure during her statement.

“We stand before you and promise you that our beloved family member thrives.  She laughs, she swims, she dances, and more importantly she loves, and she is loved,” Colon said.

“She will finish school, go to college, fall in love, and if she chooses, she will get married and have children,” added Colon.  “She lives not a victim, but as a survivor.”

Colon also pleaded for privacy, and said the family’s focus is on Gina’s continued recovery.

“She is where we will continue to put our energy –  her insurmountable will to prevail is the only story worth discussing.”

She then turned around, stood in front of Castro and said in Spanish, “Que Dios se apiade de su alma,” (“may God take pity on your soul.”)

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