CLEVELAND (TheBlaze/AP) — The Cleveland house where three women were held captive and raped over a decade was demolished Wednesday.
The "house of horrors" was torn down as part of a plea deal that spared Ariel Castro a possible death sentence for his crimes against the women.
One of the women imprisoned there, Michelle Knight, showed up early Wednesday before the demolition began. She made a brief statement and released balloons into the air. The balloons, according to ABC News, are for abducted children who are never found.
"I want the people out there to know -- including the mothers -- that they can have strength, they can have hope, and their child will come back," Knight said, according to ABC.
"I go from here as being a motivational speaker and let everybody know that they are heard, that they are loved, and that there is hope for everyone," she continued.
Spectators cheered and clapped as the demolition began. It took about an hour and 20 minutes to tear down the house.
Watch this raw footage showing some of the demo:
Here's an aerial view:
Google Earth had already blurred out a satellite image of the house, before the demolition even began.
Prosecutors say Castro cried when he signed over the deed and mentioned his "many happy memories" there with the women. The women escaped May 6 when one of them broke part of a door and yelled for help.
Castro was sentenced earlier this month to life in prison -- plus 1,000 years -- without parole.
Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty told the spectators: "This was one evil guy."