Jan. 28, 2008— -- It's a shocking scenario, but for the parents of American student Amanda Knox, this is their harsh reality: Visiting their 20 year-old daughter in an Italian prison 6,000 miles away from their hometown of Seattle.
Knox is a suspect in the brutal murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher just six weeks after arriving to study abroad in the quaint, medieval town of Perugia in the Umbrian countryside of Italy.
For Amanda Knox and her parents, Edda Mellas and Curt Knox, a dream year abroad has become a nightmare.
On the night of Nov. 1, 2007, Knox's roommate suffered an agonizing death -- her throat slit after an apparent sexual attack. Four days later, Knox went with her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, to talk to police and soon underwent an intense interrogation.
According to police, Knox first declared she was at Sollecito's apartment the night of the murder, but later claimed she had a vision where she may have been in her apartment where the deadly attack occurred, covering her ears when she may have heard screams.
Hours into an overnight questioning session, Knox's final account did match her original statement, saying she slept at Sollecito's apartment that fatal night. "Her story and her version of what happened that night has totally stayed consistent, absolutely consistent," said her mother. "If you take out that [overnight] interrogation without a lawyer, without an interpreter, other than that time when she was...like she says, the most scared that she's ever been in her entire life, her story has not changed one iota."
Police felt her conflicting statements were incriminating enough to arrest Knox and Sollecito on Nov. 6.
Instantly, the stunning soccer star and dean's list student was catapulted into the center of an international media frenzy, dubbed by the Italian press as having the "face of an angel with ice cold eyes."
"20/20" has the story you haven't heard, from the nickname "Foxy Knoxy" to the claims that Knox was shopping for sexy lingerie the day after Kercher's death. For the first time, Knox's parents and her 19-year-old sister Deanna Knox end their silence.
Knox's mother, Mellas, says, "This was a horrible crime, but I couldn't understand why immediately Amanda was painted in this horrible light, where she was unrecognizable." According to her sister Deanna, the media has it all wrong. "Amanda is the kindest person I know. She will do anything to make people happy and she cares about everyone else before herself."
Knox's MySpace page was dissected and twisted, causing the public to create its own version of her. But who is the real Amanda Knox? Is she capable of murder?
From her Italian boyfriend, Sollecito, to her the alleged lingerie shopping, Knox's family provides insight. In response to the caught on tape "lingerie moment," Curt Knox points out that "her house is now a crime scene," and Edda Mellas explained that underwear "was one of the first things she needed." Knox's family was also aware of her new Italian boyfriend. "He looked like Harry Potter, and that's what she liked about him," said Deanna Knox.
From the start, Knox's family has displayed unwavering support and proclaimed her innocence. But public opinion immediately turned against Knox, who was painted as a sex-crazed, party girl gone wild. Knox's father Curt Knox says this portrayal is "180 degrees opposite of anything we have ever known her to be."
Twice a week for the past three months, at least one of Knox's parents has visited her in prison, where she can be held for up to a year without even being charged, according to Italian law. Knox's father says that "being a young kid, she just doesn't understand -- why am I here when I didn't do anything."
"20/20" brought in Joe Tacopina, a high-profile New York criminal defense attorney who also has law offices in Italy, to analyze the case, which has been plagued by speculation.
"This case, like many high profile cases that garner a lot of media attention, is larded with non-truths and rumors that sort of take on a life of their own," he said.
Tacopina was given unprecedented access to both the prosecution and defense, and offers new insight and clarification of key evidence.
While the investigation continues, Amanda Knox's family hopes she will be released. Her sister, Deanna, who visited Knox twice just before Christmas, simply wants her back.
"One of the hardest things I had to deal with when I went to Italy was that after our little hour of seeing her, I had to watch her being taken away," Deanna Knox said. "I didn't want to let go. I just wanted to take her home with me."