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Long IslandColumnistsEllis Henican

A day fraught with emotion after kidnappings

Deborah Knight, grandmother of Michelle Knight, is hugged

Deborah Knight, grandmother of Michelle Knight, is hugged by Nancy Johnson during a vigil in Cleveland, Ohio. Ariel Castro was arraigned on rape and kidnapping charges for abducting Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus and holding them for about 10 years. (May 9, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Ariel Castro, the accused monster of Seymour Avenue, has a mother, just like all of us do or did. Her name is Lillian Rodriguez, and what a Mother's Day she must be enduring now.

It's nothing compared with the pounding grief visited so cruelly on Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus and their families. But this much is already painfully obvious: the victims go far beyond the three young women held in squalid captivity for a decade.

How can his own mother possibly explain any of this to herself and her family, much less to the outside world? She offered her earliest attempts as she pulled her car out of her driveway and rolled the window down.

"I am a mother in a lot of pain," she said. "I'm sorry for what my son has done."

She is apparently one of the few who had seen Amanda Berry's daughter -- fathered by her son, according to DNA tests. Little Jocelyn, now 6, reportedly called the older woman "grandmother."

Where did she believe this child had come from? Where did she think the girl went at night? There are questions, thousands of horrible questions, and Lillian Rodriguez didn't get very far in answering them. This Mother's Day, three families are celebrating the end to an unspeakable ordeal, and one mother is trying in vain to apologize for it.

"I'll tell you," she said. "I have a sick son who has committed something very grave. I ask forgiveness from those mothers. May those ladies forgive me."

It was a start, but just barely.




1. Try to explain.

2. Hope to change.

3. Teach to avoid.

4. Accept the shame.

5. Just apologize.

ASKED AND UNANSWERED:Is Michael Fagen giving a whole new meaning to the term "suspended sentence"? For the fourth time since his felony unemployment-fraud conviction in February, the former Long Beach councilman has had his date with destiny postponed . . . Just because they're both mentally disabled, why shouldn't newlyweds Paul Forziano and Hava Samuels be allowed to live in the same group home? Love has pushed them together. What overriding legal principle must keep them apart? . . . Oh, so this is what "scholar-athlete" means? Paul Maline, All-Long Island wide receiver and safety, weighted Commack High GPA of 101.7, perfect SAT score in verbal and math . . . Prosecutors call him a highly refined housepainter-slash-art-thief. That's nice, but how was Joselito Vega's ladder-and-roller work at the art-filled Schulhof estate in Kings Point? . . . Loud Second Amendment protesters managed to block an attempt to close the Suffolk Trap and Skeet range in Calverton, but didn't anyone speak up for the voiceless skeet? . . . Can you spot the Riverhead locations in the just-released trailer for "Inside Llewyn Davis," the locally shot Coen Brothers film? Sharp-eyed local moviegoers notice a potato barn on Northville Turnpike and a water-district facility made up as a 1961 gas station . . . The name's been changed to honor mega-donors Charles and Helen Reichert, but here's the $850,000 question: Will LI field trip kids just keeping calling the Centerport stargazing emporium the Vanderbilt Planetarium?

THE NEWS IN SONG: That leaves only me to blame, "Mama Tried," Merle Haggard,


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