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Cleveland kidnapping victim Amanda Berry this weekend made a surprise appearance at a local concert in what was reportedly her first public event since she was freed from more than a decade of captivity and abuse.
Berry was brought onstage at Cleveland’s RoverFest 2013 concert on Saturday. She was introduced by a local radio host and was greeted with cheering and a massive round of applause, ABC News reported.
“I told her she had a little bit of time to make up on the partying and you guys would help her out tonight,” WMMS host Shane “Rover” French said, according to ABC News.
Berry was accompanied by her family and smiled broadly while waving at the crowd, the Associated Press reported. A couple of the women with her cried, French told the AP.
French had issued an impromptu invitation to Berry on his show several weeks ago but didn’t know if she was listening.
He was surprised when she showed up.
She initially refused to go on stage but later agreed.
“She didn’t say why she decided to come, but some of her family members told me they listen to my show every day and had been to RoverFest in the past,” French told the AP.
“I didn’t see her cry, but I think she was pretty overwhelmed by the response that the crowd gave her,” he added of Berry. “She just seemed to be having a great time.”
She was later called back onto the stage by rapper Nelly who dedicated a song to her and danced with her.
Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus were rescued from kidnapper Ariel Castro in May, roughly a decade after they were abducted. Castro, who Friday pleaded guilty to kidnapping and rape charges, abused the women and even had a child with Berry.
Earlier this month, the three women used YouTube to break their silence, releasing a video thanking people for the emotional and financial support they’ve received.
Watch video of Berry’s concert appearance below.
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