The man accused of kidnapping three Cleveland women and holding them for close to a decade abused all of them but used captive Michelle Knight as his main "punching bag," a family friend of one of the victims told CNN.
The friend said suspect Ariel Castro hit Knight with a variety of objects, including hand weights. She has suffered vision loss, joint and muscle damage, and other problems from her time in captivity.
Castro, 52, was jailed on charges of kidnapping and rape after one of the women, Amanda Berry, escaped from the home with the aid of neighbors on May 6.
Knight, 32, stayed in the hospital for several days after the other two women left. She has released a statement saying she's doing well.
"I am healthy, happy and safe and will reach out to family, friends and supporters in good time," Knight said.
According to an initial incident report obtained by CNN, the three women told police Castro had abducted them between 2002 and 2004, held them captive and sexually assaulted them.
The family friend said Castro treated Berry slightly better than the other two women and Knight was treated the worst. All three women were underweight, the friend said.
Berry gave birth to a daughter fathered by Castro, according to DNA testing by the Ohio state crime lab.
Knight said she became pregnant at least five times while in Castro's 1,400-square-foot home, according to the incident report.
When that happened, she told investigators, Castro "starved her for at least two weeks, then he repeatedly punched her in the stomach until she miscarried."
Knight said he ordered her to deliver Berry's child, according to a police source familiar with the investigation.
The baby was delivered in a plastic tub or pool in order to contain the afterbirth and amniotic fluid, the source said.
Panic ensued soon after. The child stopped breathing, and everyone started screaming, the source said, citing accounts by the young women.
Knight said Castro threatened to kill her if the baby did not survive, the initial police report states.
"What's most incredible here is that this girl who knows nothing about childbirth was able to deliver a baby that is now a healthy 6-year-old," the police source said.
Castro intends to plead not guilty, his attorneys told CNN affiliate WKYC in an exclusive interview.
"I know the media wants to jump to conclusions and all the people in the community want to say terrible things about the person who's accused," attorney Jaye Schlachet told the station. "We are not even at the beginning of the process. If this was a marathon race, we're not even at the starting line yet."
Castro's defense team may seek to move the trial out of the Cuyahoga County to improve their client's chances for a fair trial, lawyer Craig Weintraub said.
He said Castro is "completely isolated from society" without access to television, radio or newspapers and is under suicide watch in a Cuyahoga County jail cell.
'They're the true heroes here'
On Wednesday, Cleveland police held a ceremony recognizing the work of officers who responded to the call at Castro's house.
Patrol Officer Anthony Espada recalled the emotion at the scene.
"It just took everything to hold everything together. I tried to do my best to broadcast all the information over the radio without actually breaking down because I was on the verge," he said.
"They were just so brave, going through all that for all those years. They're the true heroes here."
He said officers didn't think twice about going into the house.