CLEVELAND - Held captive, raped, tortured, and at times starved. Laura Cowan knows all too well the story told by Michelle Knight Wednesday on the TV program, "Dr. Phil."
Knight talked about how Ariel Castro beat her and at one point, "jumped on [her] stomach like it was a bed," forcing her into a miscarriage.
"At a point, I just wanted to die, but I held on because I had to get those kids out of here," said Cowan. She was held captive in California in a three-car garage along with another family for six months.
Cowan and her two children, along with another woman and her two children, were referred to as wife number two and three by Mansa Musa Muhummed. He refereed to himself as an Islamic polygamist and he's the father to 19 children. The crime happened in 1999, but through legal maneuvers it would take ten years before the trial would begin. Muhummed was found guilty and given seven life sentences.
"She's a brave woman for coming forth," Cowan said speaking of Michelle Knight. "She protected Gina."
Knight told Dr. Phil that often she would take the beating for Gina DeJesus, protecting her from the brutality Castro would unleash. Cowan said she would often do the same thing trying to shield her children from the wrath of Muhummed.
"They watched and saw so much," she said. "They could hear my screams. They saw me being beaten, stabbed, they saw a lot."
Cowan said one of those rapes would lead to her getting pregnant and the birth of her daughter. Muhummed is at Kern Valley State Prison. He's expected to be eligible for parole in about 60 years.