New Hope for Exchange Student Held as Murder Suspect

Amanda Knox will most likely celebrate her 21st birthday on July 9 in a maximum security prison in Perugia, Italy, where she has been held the last seven months -- with no charges filed against her -- as a suspect in the gruesome murder of her 20-year-old British roommate Meredith Kercher.

Last November, Kercher was found with her throat slashed after what a prosecutor characterized as a drug-fueled sex orgy gone wrong.

For Amanda's parents, Edda Mellas and Curt Knox, it's been a living nightmare. Their oldest daughter Amanda, an honor student and athlete, now lives in a prison cell where she is only permitted two hours a day to exercise, a recent improvement, and two hours per week for precious family visits. The emotional toll on Amanda's family is unbearable.

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In an interview with "Good Morning America's" Juju Chang, Mellas spoke of her visits with Amanda in prison.

"It's always wonderful to go in," Mellas said. "You get to hug her, hold her and talk to her. And leaving just rips your heart out every time, every time that you have to leave your innocent baby."

Amanda's sister, Deanna Knox, 19, sees the impact on their parents.

"My mom's crying is terrible. It's hard to watch because I know she hurts," she said. "It's difficult. I worry about my mom a lot. And I've never seen my dad (Curt Knox) cry -- until this."

She added: "We always have known from the beginning that they love us more than anything in the world - the Knox girls."

The "Knox girls" also includes Amanda and Deanna's two younger half-sisters, Ashley, 13, and Delaney, 9, who spoke to "Good Morning America" in their first television interview. The four sisters, who have always been close, look forward to letters from Amanda, written from prison.

In one to her youngest sister, Delaney, Amanda wrote: "I'm doing okay. I'm still studying and reading a lot, like always. I think all the time about going home. I daydream about you quite a bit because I miss you very much. I miss you and love you. Be good and gentle to everyone. Spread the love. I love you. Amanda."

Ashley and Delaney have not seen Amanda since last August when she took off to live her dream of studying abroad.

"We just want her out," Ashley Knox said.

New Developments in Case

For now, back in Seattle, Amanda's friends and family have made "Free Amanda and Raffaele" T-shirts, referring to Amanda's Italian former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, who is also in jail as a suspect. It seems to be all they can do as they continue to wait for a foreign legal system to run its course and determine Amanda's fate.

And it may have been Amanda's own confused words that led police to point to her as a prime suspect.

A few days after Kercher's body was found, Amanda was called to police headquarters for questioning as someone who knew Meredith, not a suspect. She had told police from the beginning that she was with Sollecito, and slept at his house the night of the murder.

But Amanda soon found herself undergoing a grueling overnight interrogation with no lawyer, no professional interpreter, no food and no sleep.

"There was a lot of mental abuse," Curt Knox said. "The police told her, 'You're not going to see you parents for another 30 years.' She was actually hit in the head a couple times. It was just an all-night, 'You're not coming up with the right answer for us.'"

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