Teen once held captive, starved receives diploma

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Eighteen months after being rescued near death from a Gwinnett County hotel room, Iasia Sweeting received her high school diploma Monday night.

Many of the graduates received awards, but none walked across the stage with a bigger smile than Sweeting’s. Her high school principal raised her arm in victory as she accepted her diploma.

READ: Police: Starved mother weighed 59 pounds

Sweeting received a standing ovation from students not even in high school when she took classes. Outside the venue, Sweeting hugged her family.  And celebrated.

“Was there ever a moment that you didn't think you'd get to this point?” Channel 2’s Tony Thomas asked Sweeting.

READ: Family says they were within feet of finding missing daughter

“There were several moments, so many,” Sweeting said.

Sweeting weighed just 59 pounds when she was rescued from a hotel in 2014. Authorities say she was held captive by Calvin McIntosh and his daughter Niajlaa.

A daughter born to Iasia while she was at the hotel died of starvation.

Before Sweeting disappeared in 2010, she was a sophomore at the DeKalb School of the Arts and an aspiring poet. She's now a graduate.

“It’s a culmination of every type of emotion that you could ever feel. It's fear, it's happiness, it's anger that it didn't happen sooner, but it's appreciation that it did happen,” Sweeting said.

READ: Police: Father charged in baby's starving death could be cult member

“God just made everything possible that I’ve been praying for all these years, this is what I've been wanting to see,” her mother, Elvis Morgan, said.

The father and daughter accused in the crimes remain in jail, awaiting trial.